Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)


Looking for some light reading? Then this book probably isn't for you. But, regardless, it is well worth adding to your collection.

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) is a rare look into the sordid world of self-justification. It examines how decisions that are clearly wrong can be made by people and justified or even strengthened when events go belly up.

Take, for example, a cult that believed the world would end on December 21st and that they would be spared by being abducted by aliens at midnight on the 20th. Surely, you would think, when 12:01am rolled around, the faithful would be faithless. In a rational world that would be the outcome, but not in the surreal world of emotional illusions. By 4:40am, when it was absolutely clear to the most ardent of the faithful that the prophecy had failed, the prophet had another vision (what a surprise). And the vision was that the steadfast belief of the faithful (a group of about 30) had spared the Earth (the billions of us outside the fold). The "salvation" of the entire Earth lay with those 30 kind souls. Quite thoughtful, really. After this, instead of loosing momentum, the "faithful" then became more passionate and devoted than ever before.

Ah... I hear you saying, but I'm no freak. That could never happen to me. Yet this same mental mechanism, cognitive dissidence, works on numerous levels. Consider smoking. The consequences of smoking are inescapable and horrendous and yet still millions persist.

Moral of the story. Whether its alien saviours or a fag after a pint, Proverbs 21:2 still holds true, every man is right in his own eyes.

I've painted myself into a few corners over the years and got my feet dirty trying to get out of them... Mistakes were made by me...

Here's a few others worthy of note in this category...

The Lucifer Effect With a title like that, how can you resist?
Dont Believe Everything You Think is another...
A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives brings some humour and wit to the arguments

...so if you're stuck in the middle of the UK floods and a little bored, go to Amazon.com and order some of these. The military may not be able to get help to you, but Amazon will :)

3 comments:

Lord Straf-Moran said...

Yes, my 2012 prediction [I haven't told anyone what it is yet] might come true or maybe we won't be blogging then. Actually, if it does come true, we definitely won't be blogging.

Onyx Stone said...

Very interesting. I think I'll get hold of Mistakes Were Made and Don't Believe Everything You Think

Taking a different approach to the mind's malleability, there's an amazing book called The Art of Possibility.
The first section on It's All Invented says in essence that people's world view, their construct of limitations, the assumptions of the rules of the game are all made up anyway. So why not invent your own construct and perspective which suits your own sky's-the-limit potential!

I got the book because it was recommended by the renowned computer programmer Miguel de Icaza. Very enlightening.

"Are you stuck?" asked Rabbit. "No," said Pooh, "I'm just resting and thinking and humming to myself." said...

Having been there at 12:01, metaphorically speaking, it bothers me to realise how easy it is to allow yourself to be deceived.

I say "allow" because at some point you have to consciously surrender before you climb on the bandwagon...