Recently caught a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk about “being wrong” by Kathryn Schulz a self proclaimed “wrongologist” thus one would think she should know what she was talking about. It was during this talk, Miss Schulz’s brought up the concept of “error blindness” as part of being “wrong” as how do we know we are wrong anyway? This struck me as interesting as the later piece is something I’ve struggled with since sitting in Dr. Warren’s Sociology 101 class at Oakland University as it was here which I learned of Norms, Laws and Mores and their influence on how we view the concepts of “right and wrong”. In prior posts we’ve also discussed this topic, so today what we will focus on is “error blindness” and how this concept factors into our perceptions and practicalities.
So what is “error blindness” you ask, as is it when you unknowingly tell a stranger the wrong directions and walk way not knowing as the stranger you shared the error with has yet to discover the “error” and will never see you again, so there doesn’t exist an error? Well sort of, however have to credit Miss Schulz as she used the analogy of Wile E. Coyote ™ chasing after the RoadRunner ™ as they left a cliff as at this point of crossing from solid ground to nothing but air was that point of “error blindness”. As for those who recall the graphic of this instant will remember that it wasn’t until the “moment” he realized the “error” did his fall begin. As up until that point the error did not exist as and we’ve waxed a bit in a prior post titled the Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle as what is the relation to creating a “past” based upon a “future”, which we will speak more of in the coming posts as it’s an interesting topic.
However today the discussion is how the understanding and management of “error blindness” can be addressed to our advantage. As to start this discussion we will turn to the accompanying graphic above as a reference document. As one of the key points is to understand we “always” live in the “now”, never the past nor the future, only “now”. Therefore we can only “think” of the future and “remember” the past as the future will then flow around the “now”, as one can imagine this as a rock strategically placed in a flowing stream with the water in front the “future” and the behind, the past. However as we watch the flow of water past the rock (our “now”) we notice the “stream” is disrupted by the “now” (or rock) thus the “past” will never have the same symmetry as the future.
Therefore the ebbs and tides created by the “now” form our “error blindness” as the future passes by, much like as Mr. Coyote steps off the edge of a cliff isn’t readily noticed until the stream rights itself. Thus the critical aspects to manage for this is to think a little more into the future, and to confirm our “current footing” in the now is where we expect it to be on solid ground rather than finding we stepped mid air.
A closing thought on this is as a child far before understanding all of this stuff; I had often wondered what would happen if Wile E. (the Coyote) just never acknowledged the “error”, could he have just kept on running…