We, us, you – believe ourselves to be right. About everything. Everything. Your opinions are you being right. Your interpretations are you being right. Your perceptions, insight, values, favorites - are. you. being. right.
Well, we at least think we’re right. I mean, who knows better than us? I once had the luxury of being scolded by one of my fellow teammates, when I used to play basketball, for not doing the play correctly. “It’s called a spin-and-roll for a reason. You’re supposed to spin,” she kindly informed me, with the help of a dramatic roll of the eyes and the kind of sassy tone where you ar-ti-cu-late ev-er-y sin-gle ter-ri-ble word.
I, for one, was appalled.
I do not appreciate being told what to do. Well, that’s not totally true. To be more accurate, I do not appreciate being told what to do when you tell me in a way that makes me remember it, and resent it, and write about it years later.
I believed I was right. That competition is stupid and pointless and that-this-just-a-ball-stop-freaking-out-that-it-didn’t-land-in-a-net-with-a-hole-in-the-bottom. She told me how to do the play correctly – very rudely, I might add – and somehow that became the exact moment I decided that competition is frankly petty and a waste of your stupid dumb time.
What can I say, I’m not the best at sports.
But maybe you caught the clear bias in that particular conclusion. Maybe the elegant phrase “stupid dumb time” gave it away. My brain, angered that it had been insulted, made the assumption that all competition is petty. That this one incident represented the rest. I saw, experienced, concluded - and that was that.
But there is a glaring problem in such a way of thinking. It locks down our opinions, our mindset, and blinds us to evidence that contradicts our all-mighty truth. For we are right, no?
Humans have a tendency to see or experience one thing, and immediately attribute it to another. I had one bad encounter with an unfortunately competitive girl who took her success to mean that she could order me around. And I took that to mean that all competition, and all who are competitive, are in the wrong. Seeking water and nourishment in a barren desert. And nothing could change my mind, for I had already established my truth. We know what we see, and see what we know.
Perhaps we should stick to the trusty wisdom of the Scientific Method™, and not base all our perceptions, our entire realm of what we know to be truth, on single experiences, isolated incidents. And more so, we should stop demanding the inherent accuracy of our set-in-our-ways statements of “fact.”
The earth was flat once, but not anymore. Because someone had the good sense to say, “Perhaps – maybe, just maybe –
we are wrong?”