The Errors of Our Ways

From The New York Times:

Wrong In 1650, Oliver Cromwell asked the Church of Scotland to reconsider its decision to side with the royalists instead of him. “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” The church didn’t think it possible, of course, so Oliver’s army took Scotland. According to Kathryn Schulz, each of us is our very own Church of Scotland — ­often mistaken, oddly oblivious and typically immune to a good beseeching. ­“Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” is an insightful and delightful discussion of the errors of our ways — why we make mistakes, why we don’t know we are making them and what we do when recognition dawns.

Schulz begins with a question that should puzzle us more than it does: Why do we love being right? After all, she writes, “unlike many of life’s other delights — chocolate, surfing, kissing — it does not enjoy any mainline access to our biochemistry: to our appetites, our adrenal glands, our limbic systems, our swoony hearts.” Indeed, as she notes, “we can’t enjoy kissing just anyone, but we can relish being right about almost anything,” including that which we’d rather be wrong about, like “the downturn in the stock market, say, or the demise of a friend’s relationship or the fact that at our spouse’s insistence, we just spent 15 minutes schlepping our suitcase in exactly the opposite direction from our hotel.”

More here.

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