By Kathryn Schulz

To err is human. but so much folks struggle through lifestyles assuming (and occasionally insisting) that we're correct approximately approximately every thing, from the origins of the universe to easy methods to load the dishwasher. If being incorrect is so usual, why are all of us so undesirable at imagining that our ideals can be flawed, and why will we react to our error with shock, denial, defensiveness, and disgrace?

In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we discover it so pleasurable to be correct and so maddening to be incorrect, and the way this perspective towards errors corrodes relationships—whether among relations, colleagues, acquaintances, or international locations. alongside the best way, she takes us on a desirable travel of human fallibility, from wrongful convictions to no-fault divorce; clinical errors to misadventures at sea; failed prophecies to fake thoughts; "I advised you so!" to "Mistakes have been made." Drawing on thinkers as diversified as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she proposes a brand new method of taking a look at wrongness. during this view, mistakes is either a given and a gift—one that may rework our worldviews, our relations, and, so much profoundly, ourselves.

after all, Being Wrong isn't just an account of human blunders yet a tribute to human creativity—the manner we generate and revise our ideals approximately ourselves and the area. At a second whilst financial, political, and non secular dogmatism more and more divide us, Schulz explores with unusual humor and eloquence the seduction of sure bet and the crises occasioned by way of blunders. an excellent debut from a brand new voice in nonfiction, this e-book calls on us to invite one among life's such a lot not easy questions: what if I'm improper?

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Additional info for Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

Sample text

And, conversely, what does it mean about the supposedly unreal if it is so easy to conjure and so intensely convincing? These questions have haunted our collective imagination from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to The Matrix (both of which, incidentally, hinge on drug trips). One of the most consistent answers—and the crucial one, for my purposes—is that the false and the true are reversed: that the unreal is, so to speak, the real real. Freud, as I’ve already noted, believed that the false worlds of our dreams reveal deep and hidden truths about ourselves.

Before we turn to those experiences, I want to introduce two figures who vividly embody these different models of wrongness. Unlike the various error-stricken individuals we’ll meet in the rest of this book, these figures do not actually exist. They are creatures of mythology, and they do not so much err as animate—and illuminate—the ways we think about error. ) That root gave rise to the Latin verb errare, meaning to wander or, more rakishly, to roam. The Latin, in turn, gave us the English word “erratic,” used to describe movement that is unpredictable or aimless.

The knight errant is also a staple of medieval legend, but otherwise he could scarcely be more different. Where the wandering Jew is defined by his sin, the knight errant is distinguished by his virtue; he is explicitly and unfailingly on the side of good. His most famous representatives include Galahad, Gawain, and Lancelot, those most burnished of knights in shining armor. ) Although far from home, the knight is hardly in exile, and still less in disgrace. Unlike the juif errant, who is commanded to wander and does so aimlessly and in misery, the knight errant is on a quest: he wanders on purpose and with purpose, as well as with pleasure.

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