Sunday, October 19, 2014

What are we wrong about?

"That what is self-evident to one person can be seen as silly by another should give us pause about the reliability of common sense as a basis for understanding the world.

How can we be confident that what we believe is right when someone else feels equally strongly that it's wrong — especially when we can't articulate why we think we're right in the first place? Of course, we can always write them off as crazy or ignorant or something and therefore not worth paying attention to. But once you go down that road, it gets increasingly hard to account for why we ourselves believe what we do.

Consider, for example, that since 1996 support among the general public for allowing same-sex couples to marry has almost doubled, from 25 percent to 45 percent. Presumably those of us who changed our minds over this period do not think that we were crazy fourteen years ago, but we obviously think that we were wrong. So if something that seemed so obvious turned out to be wrong, what else that we believe to be self-evident now will seem wrong to us in the future?"

~Duncan Watts' book Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer)

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