||[Feb. 5th, 2014|12:50 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
"It may well be our brains are wired up to be slightly more optimistic than they should be." - V.S. Ramachandran
From part 4 of "The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is"
Part 1 is here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1
...and part 4, where the quote resides, is here:
Also, part 3 is absolutely terrifying in terms of its implications about the causes of WWII.
2014-02-05 02:16 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Thanks for the pointers.
My own interpretation of the Dunning-Kruger thing is that incompetent people think they're as good as everyone else so they must be doing as well as everyone else. Whereas competent people (who tend to underestimate their success) assume other people are as good as they are, so everyone else must be doing as well as they are...
I've found that one of the signs of competence and confidence in one's abilities is the willingness to admit ignorance. In some ways, it can be kind of a power play to pipe up with "I don't understand this" or "I don't know what that is", because it's entirely common for other people to say "oh, I don't either!"
2014-02-05 05:15 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Also, good thoughts there.
I've found "I don't understand" and "I don't know" to be among the biggest generators of credibility.
I can say that in areas where I can claim some degree of expertise, more education often merely throws sunshine on the limits of the knowledge, rather than granting certainty. The number of assumptions underlying things that are "known" would give anyone pause.
As far as WWII...well, maybe. The League had systemic problems that plague its successor the UN still - among other things how to balance national sovereignty with the agency of an international organization - and I don't think Wilson at the height of his powers was up to threading that needle successfully. To my mind, two things were big causes of WWII: the Depression, and the harsh terms of the Versailles Treaty, both of which doomed the Weimar Republic and set the stage for Hitler. The U.S.'s presence in the League of Nations wasn't going to resolve either.
I've experienced that optimistic thing.
When my car was stolen in... 1999ish? I heard my motor start, because I was having a typical insomniac night and was reading. I knew the sound of my car, so I jumped out of bed and went to look at the driveway, and there was some guy I didn't know backing my car out of its parking spot.
COMMENCE SURREALISM: My brain told me it wasn't my driveway. (We lived at the end of the block before a rock face; no other driveways even possible.)
My brain told me it was probably someone else's white car. (Only 3 cars fit in front of my house, no tenants or guests had white cars. Also, um... I know Greta Golf.)
In seconds, my brain came up with even more preposterous fantasies WHICH WERE DENYING THE REALITY IN FRONT OF MY EYES, because of *course* that is not someone stealing my car. (I mean, what? I love my vehicles, but... uh... really?)
I was already on the phone with the police (who answered on the first ring) telling them my car was being stolen, and I was still watching the pictures in my head that were this surreal abnegation of the situation at hand. It was creepy as HELL, because it seemed to come out of nowhere. As though there was some sort of extra important reason why this needed to not be true.
NOPE, THAT IS TOTALLY NOT YOUR CAR BEING STOLEN BY SOME GUY.
I'd read the first part many months ago as I'm a fervent believer in the Dunning-Kruger effect, but I'd not read the third part-- scary, scary stuff! Thank you!