On Being Always Right

We have all heard it, but how often do we stop to think about it? Someone says, “I am never mistaken” or synonymous phrase. What could this mean? That the speaker has had his or her beliefs, calculations or conclusions independently audited for conformity to a real, external world, and has been awarded a grade of 100%? I don’t think so. Not all of the beliefs, calculations or conclusions will be susceptible to objective verification. They typically proclaim it in advance of any checks anyway. This only makes sense if they know in advance that they must be correct because they always are; but this then assumes what needs to be proven, in a circularity.

No, this sort of talk is a way of granting oneself undeserved self-esteem, which pace Rand is the true “motor of the world”. Correctness, a quite meaningless word in the absence of an external reality to be measured against, serves as a proxy for “good” or “better than you”, a proxy suitable for those who do not quite dare use the language of moral superiority.

I was once told that Persian males are brought up to believe that they are inevitably “correct”, certainly in relation to females. In Norway, it is precisely the other way round. In both cases the bottom line is that this automatic birthday-present to oneself means an assuredness of virtue and never having to truly know yourself.

Posted on November 9, 2009 at 10:43 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, A Theory Of Everybody

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