Sunday, 4 January 2015

Right or Wrong

Good afternoon reader,

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. Mine was bittersweet after my uncle, Brian, passed away just before Christmas.

However the holiday period along with the passing meant I got to see many members of my family I haven't seen in a while. People who you get along with regardless of personal attitudes or beliefs just because they are family. I also got to catch up with quite a few friends and after seeing everyone found myself in quite an introspective mood.

My thoughts focused largely on people's need to be right and many of our outright refusal to acknowledge when we are wrong. I have certainly been guilty of this many times in my life and I'm sure those close to me see me as a stubborn know-it-all because of these situations. But why do we have this intense need to always appear to be right and what effects might it be having?

When I read novels and watch films from prior to the last 30-40ish years it doesn't appear to me that people had this particular trait; not like we have today at least. People seem more ready to acknowledge other's superiority over them and in many cases it was the norm to treat people as though they know things you don't until proven otherwise. A stark contrast to today where people often treat others like nothing until they prove their worth.

Following along a few theories I can see a few potential sources of this change in attitude. The first is popular culture. Films and novels like James Bond, Catch Me If You Can and other similar stories have enchanted us with the concept of a person going where they please and getting whatever they want simply by acting like they have the right. It's natural for people to emulate those they idolise and I imagine many people might have consciously or subconsciously tried this behavior out for themselves. I believe many people call this "fake it till you make it".

Another possible cause is a side-effect of our new found love of equality. If no one is below you then no one can be above you. This might subconsciously give one the idea that it doesn't matter how well informed, well researched or logical another person might be about any given matter. They are still your equal and their opinion still can't outweigh your own.

So what are the effects of this society of fakers we have become? I'm not quite sure what the effects are at an individual level. People still seem to be making friends, having meaningful relationships and living happy lives. On a larger scale though I suspect that this might be a contributing factor to the divisive nature of many societies today and is fueling increasingly aggressive conflicts as a result of that. When everyone thinks they know better than those with expertise, knowledge and wisdom it becomes much harder to unify people and implement good ideas. This blog is evidence of one guy presuming he has something meaningful to say about things like this very topic.

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