flyangler

Why is it so important to be “right”?

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Not “right” in the political context of left-right, in the context of being correct and winning a debate with someone else. I have thought about this on and off for years, especially when I find myself getting too absorbed in on-line discussions. Today’s thread about Dumb Greekboy meeting with someone in the UK FCO is a classic example. GB/Aquacide posted something and I and others took up the gauntlet to dismiss it either in fact or importance. GB and John respond and it continues onward just as do innumerable threads in the PG, RO and even the Tavern. Discussion of gun control become arguments about absolute views with attempts to shout down the other guy. Heck, I started a thread on fiberglass fly rods in the salt and that got acrimonious due to the intransigence of one participant. 

 

It was not like this years ago. Back in the pre-internet, pre-cable TV times, if you did not have personal knowledge about something or direct access to pre-instant facts, people were just not as argumentative as we are today. With the inter webs and instant access to information, anyone can become “informed” and/or an instant “expert” on almost any topic in minutes. And their accuracy in that research is only as good as the sources they access. 

 

And it is not just here in the PG or even in SOL, it is EVERYWHERE and penetrates all manner of topics, not just opinion-oriented things like politics. And the more personally held the belief, the stronger are the “facts” and the stronger the need to be “right”. And then it leads to stupid arguments when one finds the facts do not support their view. It leads to non-sequiturs, ad-hominem attacks, trolling and discussion derailement. And then the personal insults start. Heck, I kicked FnM when he’s been banned just because I could. 

 

So what is it about “being right”? And why has it gotten so much more prevalent in recent years? And why does it become an “us” versus “them” approach? And does this arise from our further divisions/partisanship, or does the need to be “right” lead to further divisiveness and partisanship?

 

The following article is from 2012 Psychology Today article. It was the easiest to find and might not be the most relevant but it makes the point that there is an increasing need to “be right” and it is not healthy. 

 

Thoughts?

 

Why Is It So Important to Be Right?

Accepting being incorrect without any loss or embarrassment.

 

One of the most prevalent - and damaging - themes in our culture is the need to be right. It's one of those essential memes that we take for granted. It is so deeply embedded in our belief system and in our collective psyche that we never even pause to consider it. It would really serve us to inquire why it is so compelling. Before we begin to look at that, let's just reflect on how it impacts our lives.

 

From the more personal and mundane battle over who said what in the midst of an argument to the larger issues of politics, religion, abortion, health care, gun control or climate change, being right is mandated. It quickens our pulse, causes us to shout and can sever relationships. It is the raison d'etre for most acts of hatred, violence and warfare.

 

Our educational system is rooted in the construct of right and wrong. We are rewarded for what are deemed to be correct answers and the ensuing higher grades, which generally lead to more successful lives. Being right affirms and inflates our sense of self-worth. As students we learn to avoid as best we can the embarrassment of being wrong. Getting the right answer becomes the primary purpose of our education. Isn't it regrettable that this may be inconsistent with actually learning?

 

Can you imagine the generative and exciting learning environment that would result from a class that rewarded asking the best questions? If you think about it, the most intriguing questions are those that don't offer simple answers. Even more, they drive our thinking into greater complexity and curiosity. This would be a most wonderful learning experience. No one need be cautious about a wrong answer. And everyone would be invited to safely participate in a generative and shared inquiry. Children certainly wouldn't nod off in boredom.

 

This experience would look much different that the rote memorizing and spewing back of information - rooted in right or wrong answers. Raising your hand to gain the reward of getting the correct answer is pointless. It doesn't teach you anything; you already knew the answer. It simply massages your ego, but it doesn't inspire a genuine learning experience.

 

Talking Heads

Cable news shows stage the predictable impasse, particularly in the political arena, fervently pitching the argument around right and wrong. What is more stultifying than watching two talking heads assert and then refute each other? A mindless ping-pong match. No one walks away any more enlightened than the way they came in - both pundits and audience.

 

Have you ever heard a Republican pause and reflect back to a Democrat that they appreciated their point and were reconsidering their point of view? Or a Democrat acknowledge to a Republican that their own opinion wasn't substantiated by fact as much as belief? It would be an extraordinary moment to witness any break through in this stalemate.

 

Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?

As a marriage counselor I often ask people if they'd rather be right or they'd rather be happy. Although nearly everyone says they would prefer happiness, the battle enjoins over right or wrong. If you pause and consider it, it's really insane isn't it? The very fact that we'd mindlessly choose to win an argument at the cost of damaging our relationships points to something terribly amiss. This inclination leads to the need to win an argument, which assures that no one is actively listening. If I need to be right, and we have differing points of view, that obviously makes you wrong. Doesn't exactly sound like the stuff of friendships, let alone romantic relations. This compulsion to be right sidetracks our lives and impedes our learning and happiness.

 

 

Why is it so vital to be right?

It's curious how mightily our thoughts and beliefs defend their territory. Why is it so vital to be right? Well to begin with, if you're not right, then you are indeed wrong, with all the accompanying sense of humiliation and failure. But is this a given? Does it have to be this way? Could we accept being incorrect without any loss or embarrassment?

 

I believe this fixation is more likely wed to highly competitive cultures than traditionally-oriented cooperative societies. In the latter, issues of right or wrong don't equivalently inform one's sense of self or identity. The ego may be shaped by other influences such as being honored, respected or altruistic. In first world cultures the drive to be right advances one in the competitive race. In the desire to get ahead this is utilized as a core value. I would actually suggest that this is a highly pervasive fixation attachment that ruins our relationships, derails our mindfulness and erodes our natural instinct to learn.

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BTW, our online culture has made us all junkies to the endorphin squirts we get when we encounter something that is “good” for us online. Likes, Thumbs up, being tagged, being retweeded or reposted, they are all incidences when we get a little squirt of endorphin that makes us feel good, no matter how fleetingly. And endorphin rushes can be addictive which explains why so many people become addicted to social media. 

 

I would argue that we get a little squirt when we are “right” or “vindicated” or “win an argument”. Hell, I think some get a squirt when the land a good dig on someone else. Seriously, there are threads in the PG where it seems like their reason to go past a few pages is just because the participants are self-pleasuring themselves with endorphin squirts. 

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I don't see it as having to be right.

I see it as the divide has become so large that there is no room for compromise.

 

Without the option of compromise the default position becomes double down on your position.

The other guy must be wrong.

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5 hours ago, tomkaz said:

Not “right” in the political context of left-right, in the context of being correct and winning a debate with someone else. I have thought about this on and off for years, especially when I find myself getting too absorbed in on-line discussions. Today’s thread about Dumb Greekboy meeting with someone in the UK FCO is a classic example. GB/Aquacide posted something and I and others took up the gauntlet to dismiss it either in fact or importance. GB and John respond and it continues onward just as do innumerable threads in the PG, RO and even the Tavern. Discussion of gun control become arguments about absolute views with attempts to shout down the other guy. Heck, I started a thread on fiberglass fly rods in the salt and that got acrimonious due to the intransigence of one participant. 

 

It was not like this years ago. Back in the pre-internet, pre-cable TV times, if you did not have personal knowledge about something or direct access to pre-instant facts, people were just not as argumentative as we are today. With the inter webs and instant access to information, anyone can become “informed” and/or an instant “expert” on almost any topic in minutes. And their accuracy in that research is only as good as the sources they access. 

 

And it is not just here in the PG or even in SOL, it is EVERYWHERE and penetrates all manner of topics, not just opinion-oriented things like politics. And the more personally held the belief, the stronger are the “facts” and the stronger the need to be “right”. And then it leads to stupid arguments when one finds the facts do not support their view. It leads to non-sequiturs, ad-hominem attacks, trolling and discussion derailement. And then the personal insults start. Heck, I kicked FnM when he’s been banned just because I could. 

 

So what is it about “being right”? And why has it gotten so much more prevalent in recent years? And why does it become an “us” versus “them” approach? And does this arise from our further divisions/partisanship, or does the need to be “right” lead to further divisiveness and partisanship?

 

The following article is from 2012 Psychology Today article. It was the easiest to find and might not be the most relevant but it makes the point that there is an increasing need to “be right” and it is not healthy. 

 

Thoughts?

 

Why Is It So Important to Be Right?

Accepting being incorrect without any loss or embarrassment.

 

One of the most prevalent - and damaging - themes in our culture is the need to be right. It's one of those essential memes that we take for granted. It is so deeply embedded in our belief system and in our collective psyche that we never even pause to consider it. It would really serve us to inquire why it is so compelling. Before we begin to look at that, let's just reflect on how it impacts our lives.

 

From the more personal and mundane battle over who said what in the midst of an argument to the larger issues of politics, religion, abortion, health care, gun control or climate change, being right is mandated. It quickens our pulse, causes us to shout and can sever relationships. It is the raison d'etre for most acts of hatred, violence and warfare.

 

Our educational system is rooted in the construct of right and wrong. We are rewarded for what are deemed to be correct answers and the ensuing higher grades, which generally lead to more successful lives. Being right affirms and inflates our sense of self-worth. As students we learn to avoid as best we can the embarrassment of being wrong. Getting the right answer becomes the primary purpose of our education. Isn't it regrettable that this may be inconsistent with actually learning?

 

Can you imagine the generative and exciting learning environment that would result from a class that rewarded asking the best questions? If you think about it, the most intriguing questions are those that don't offer simple answers. Even more, they drive our thinking into greater complexity and curiosity. This would be a most wonderful learning experience. No one need be cautious about a wrong answer. And everyone would be invited to safely participate in a generative and shared inquiry. Children certainly wouldn't nod off in boredom.

 

This experience would look much different that the rote memorizing and spewing back of information - rooted in right or wrong answers. Raising your hand to gain the reward of getting the correct answer is pointless. It doesn't teach you anything; you already knew the answer. It simply massages your ego, but it doesn't inspire a genuine learning experience.

 

Talking Heads

Cable news shows stage the predictable impasse, particularly in the political arena, fervently pitching the argument around right and wrong. What is more stultifying than watching two talking heads assert and then refute each other? A mindless ping-pong match. No one walks away any more enlightened than the way they came in - both pundits and audience.

 

Have you ever heard a Republican pause and reflect back to a Democrat that they appreciated their point and were reconsidering their point of view? Or a Democrat acknowledge to a Republican that their own opinion wasn't substantiated by fact as much as belief? It would be an extraordinary moment to witness any break through in this stalemate.

 

Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?

As a marriage counselor I often ask people if they'd rather be right or they'd rather be happy. Although nearly everyone says they would prefer happiness, the battle enjoins over right or wrong. If you pause and consider it, it's really insane isn't it? The very fact that we'd mindlessly choose to win an argument at the cost of damaging our relationships points to something terribly amiss. This inclination leads to the need to win an argument, which assures that no one is actively listening. If I need to be right, and we have differing points of view, that obviously makes you wrong. Doesn't exactly sound like the stuff of friendships, let alone romantic relations. This compulsion to be right sidetracks our lives and impedes our learning and happiness.

 

 

Why is it so vital to be right?

It's curious how mightily our thoughts and beliefs defend their territory. Why is it so vital to be right? Well to begin with, if you're not right, then you are indeed wrong, with all the accompanying sense of humiliation and failure. But is this a given? Does it have to be this way? Could we accept being incorrect without any loss or embarrassment?

 

I believe this fixation is more likely wed to highly competitive cultures than traditionally-oriented cooperative societies. In the latter, issues of right or wrong don't equivalently inform one's sense of self or identity. The ego may be shaped by other influences such as being honored, respected or altruistic. In first world cultures the drive to be right advances one in the competitive race. In the desire to get ahead this is utilized as a core value. I would actually suggest that this is a highly pervasive fixation attachment that ruins our relationships, derails our mindfulness and erodes our natural instinct to learn.

 

You are on a fishing web site.  Everyone is an expert 

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2 mins ago, JohnP said:

 

You are on a fishing web site.  Everyone is an expert 

Gun websites

Software websites

Knife websites

Cooking websites. 

 

It is a common thing fer sure

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5 hours ago, tomkaz said:

 

I would argue that we get a little squirt when we are “right” or “vindicated” or “win an argument”. Hell, I think some get a squirt when the land a good dig on someone else. Seriously, there are threads in the PG where it seems like their reason to go past a few pages is just because the participants are self-pleasuring themselves with endorphin squirts. 

 

I think that is likely to be more right than wrong.

 

(squirt)

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