Hey numbnuts, cognitive science demonstrates that you're not bright enough to realize what a clusterfuck your life is, because you're wired to tell yourself a coherent story after the fact. Microsecond by microsecond, your neocortex spins a story that says: "I meant to do that." Your conscious mind thinks its Sherlock Holmes, but really it's Maxwell Smart, tripping through life and weaving coherent excuses to maintain the illusion of control.The above is truly based on science even if it is delivered in a particularly insulting and demeaning way. You would think the author has a grudge and is taking it out on you. But the web site -- cryptically named h+ -- claims that h+ is published by Humanity+, the world's leading nonprofit for the ethical use of technology to extend human capabilities. Now, don't you feel better about all those insults?
Take a look at your life, for instance, dipshit. How much did you completely screw up and blame on others, and how much of the good stuff did you stumble into randomly, then take credit for as if you planned it all along?
More so than you think. Clever experiments with memory recall show how we cast narratives back to justify what happened. We think our lives have meaning to the extent we are able to look back and pick and chose the events that draw a coherent narrative, then we unconsciously alter all those events to confirm what we want to believe about ourselves.
When it comes to our self-assessments, we are all susceptible to the Lake Wobegon Phenomenon: When quizzed, most people rate themselves as smarter, more attractive, more optimistic, better leaders, and less biased than average. Even if you beat the average in one of these domains, the chances of you beating the average in all five domains is slim. Chances are, you're below average in more than one of these domains. How do I know this? I'm smarter, more charming, a better leader, and less biased than most people.
I had a chance to talk to the class bully from my high school, who told me about how good life had been to him. I decided not to mention this was the first nonviolent encounter we ever had. He brought up a mentally handicapped guy who got beaten even worse than me and boasted that nobody messed with that kid when he was around. I stared politely into his face amazed at what a deluded sense he had of himself. I remembered him as relentlessly, inexhaustibly evil. For an instant I wondered if I should question my sense of myself as a mature, faultless victim whose rapier witticisms should have provoked applause rather than pounding, but then I thought better of it.
The mind has a mind of its own. But even that's not in charge.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Read This Post If You Feel A Need to Be Insulted
This is a bit from a blog posting entitled "Science Proves You're Stupid":