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Bernard White


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Why do people find it so hard to admit their wrong? And how can we improve upon this? (If this is the case)

This debate is quite a risky one :D Because if I am wrong and don't admit it, it will seem like a ironic twist of fate? (/paradox)
I read a book recently called : Mistakes were made but not by me. Which was a very good book and explained in great detail how the "theory of Cognitive Dissonance" made it very hard to get people to admit they are wrong.
A quick example would be : "I am rational, (s)he is disagreeing with me, and (s)he must be irrational" Even though you can both be perfectly rational and logical.
Though I think this is one of the fundamental problems is this fundamental fact. For if people could admit they were wrong, a lot of positive things could come out of it.
I "believe" that in China this is the case, how introversion, and accepting that you could be wrong is viewed as a positive.
While a recent TED talk a watched revealed that people feel that the other is wrong due to 3 reasons :
1. Their stupid.
2. They have the wrong data. (Once you realize their not stupid.)
3. They must be ignorant or evil. (Because they have the right data and are intelligent.)
While another thing I feel I must mention is the fundamental attribution error, is where we view other people failing as disposition (Their stupid) and their success as situational (They were lucky). And our own success as disposition (I'm a genius) and our failures as situational (it was just a hard exam/ I was unlucky).
Also the optimism bias, makes us believe "smoking kills, just the other guy" in the way this is the same context as admitting humility to the fact smoking will probably kill you!


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  • Mar 31 2013: Misidentification with the ego.....

    ........we can either live to be Right or live to be Free
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      Mar 31 2013: Like this answer! (You do have an ability to summarize things in few words :p)
      But I don't think I fully understand the bit "right or live to be free", can't you be "right" and "free"?
      I may have misunderstood this though! :-)
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      Apr 14 2013: Scott DOES indeed say a lot with few words.....don't you love it Bernard?

      "Why do people find it so hard to admit their wrong?"

      For the occasion to arise in which we might have to admit to be wrong, we would have first had to believe we are right.....yes?

      "And how can we improve upon this?"

      When we identify strongly with the ego, it often leads to wanting, needing, insisting that we are right. When we can let go of that need, and realize that most of what we are talking about most of the time is simply information, which is neither right nor wrong, we are free from the need to be right.
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        Apr 14 2013: What is the "ego", if it is just yourself,then self realization is part of the "ego". Sorry! Just an odd thought I had...
        It's interesting how every debate about people, goes the (in my opinion) "pre-theory of mind (insinct) vs Post-theory of mind". In the way one is a more selfish rational self, and the other is a more empathetic irrational self. (In my opinion!) :P
        Though yeah I do agree with you, I do feel that people are too worried about admitting their wrong (in the way of the reputation they would gain!).
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          Apr 14 2013: Bernard,
          According to the accepted definition, ego is:
          "the self esp. as contrasted with another self or the world; self esteem; the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality esp. by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality". Got that? LOL!

          You say..."people are too worried about admitting their wrong (in the way of the reputation they would gain!)."

          I will say again....in order to think/feel that we are wrong, we first have to think/feel that we are/were "right". If we let go of the need to be "right", there is nothing to "worry" about.... there is freedom...as Scott insightfully points out:>)

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