TED Talk: Being Wrong by T. M.

In class the Ted talk we watched really hit at the core of an issue I think is immensely important, the issue of close mindedness. In my mind when she says that the feeling of being wrong is that of being right I think this is a primary consequence of ego. If as humans our egos were more in check and we were more aware of our fallibility in almost every area we would not feel the need to proudly proclaim of our rightness in every area while simultaneously rejecting all other perspectives and ideas. This is classic close minded thinking. You have a line of logic that works in your head to lead to a certain conclusion and so you accept this explanation as the “truth” without further explanation. Then over time this idea sinks deeper and deeper into your psyche until it is rigidly aligned with your paradigm. Now you are trapped in a mental game with yourself because you have given such credence to this idea that if another person presents a new idea, or an idea that contradicts yours you become defensive and you use a large number of fallacies to disprove the idea without even considering its actual implications. This is a direct consequence of inflexibility, or rigidity as a thinker and it is the worst state of mind you could be in to learn about the world. I relate this all back to the ego because without egotistical thinking we would not get defensive when our ideas were challenged. This is because our ego is a protective mechanism that sells us the lie that our ideas are infallible and correct. It is our ego that associates our pride with our ideas. Objectively there is no reason whatsoever to simply assume that your particular set of ideas is in perfect accordance with the nature of reality. The only reason to accept this as a personal truth is to protect oneself from the possibility of being wrong. However being wrong is what leads to growth because you are able to discard old ideas and progress onto newer and better versions of these ideas. This is the process of evolution and it is absolutely essential to the world of ideas. When ideas are subject to a kind of fair natural selection among a community of people the best ideas naturally rise to the top based on their merits alone. In nature just as often as the strongest tiger survives the weakest one dies and so in this process of evolution we must also be able to eliminate the weak links in our thinking. The death of old wrong ideas is what makes space for the newer more accurate ideas.  However this is a perfect scenario where every person involved is quenching their own egos desire to say “no I’m right, you’re wrong, that’s the end of it.” It seems to me that most people are naturally terrified of new ideas and new paradigms and facts and frames of reference. The reason is that all of these things turn the world of cold hard facts into a sea of ever changing models and ideas that is never solid. This inherently scares people because it is like replacing the firm hard ground under their feet with a roiling current of change and evolution. If our society is to be of maximum efficiency it is absolutely essential that individuals realise that they are not perfect and that to attain a higher level of awareness about reality they must be willing to change, give up, and evolve their ideas along with the rest of the tide of civilization. I think in a world that is now so immensely connected by the cybersphere of the internet the evolution of ideas has taken a rapid acceleration forward however the next obstacle in the way of progress is the human ego, and the delusions it engenders in the people who listen to its lying voice.


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