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Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 13 years and 199 days ago. Viewed 1,897 times. #1
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Why Otherwise Smart People Defend Bad Ideas


My favorite quote:

Someone with wisdom has to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Um, hey. The hole you’re digging is very nice, and it is the right size. But you’re in the wrong yard.”

Or how about this:

The problem with smart people is that they like to be right and sometimes will defend ideas to the death rather than admit they’re wrong. This is bad. Worse, if they got away with it when they were young (say, because they were smarter than their parents, their friends, and their parent’s friends) they’ve probably built an ego around being right, and will therefore defend their perfect record of invented righteousness to the death. Smart people often fall into the trap of preferring to be right even if it’s based in delusion, or results in them, or their loved ones, becoming miserable.

I bet some people think this is me in spades. I know that growing up, especially in high school, I got a reputation for being right -- to the point that people made a huge deal out of mistakes I made. This tended to make me gun-shy about potentially making mistakes. Professionally, the hardest lesson I had to learn was to shut up and listen to other people. Especially if I thought they were making a mistake. I try my hardest to state my position once, and follow up any discussion it generates, but if people want to go another way I let it drop. Over time, I'd hope that my reputation for being right ahead of the fact gives more weight to my opinions in the future.

Smart people, or at least those whose brains have good first gears, use their speed in thought to overpower others. They’ll jump between assumptions quickly, throwing out jargon, bits of logic, or rules of thumb at a rate of fire fast enough to cause most people to become rattled, and give in. When that doesn’t work, the arrogant or the pompous will throw in some belittlement and use whatever snide or manipulative tactics they have at their disposal to further discourage you from dissecting their ideas.

This could also be me. When I get something, I get it instantly, or not at all. Something clicks in my mind and I get it. If that doesn't happen, it could take ages of time before I come upon enlightenment. This has worked against me in school, as I never really had to learn how to learn. Concepts came easilly to me. But I never really had to work at learning, and so even today it is difficult for me. I can pick at the edges of problems, but the whole picture is something which frequently eludes me.

The whole article is worth reading.

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