Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Because there's nothing more satisfying than confirming your own conclusion

I work in a place where we (hold on, this is shocking) have to make decisions. Then we sit back and see if those decisions were correct. (Completely fictional example: "Yes, I think unicorns will be widespread this year, so I think we ought to buy unicorn-protection gear for our people." Six months later, "Wow, did you see Bob survive that unicorn attack? I'm glad we got him that unicorn-proof umbrella.")

So, as many of you can likely affirm, finding information that proves you're right is incredibly satisfying. The risk, of course, is that you search for corroborating information and ignore dissonant information. But, disregard that, because I'd like to share a lovely little tidbit that made me feel even more secure in the conviction expressed in my last post! (Quick recap: Reading fiction makes you a better human.)

My current living-in-the-purse book is Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian, translated by Grace Frick. It is a fictionalized letter from the Emperor Hadrian that's ostensibly about his life but is really a series of beautiful philosophical musings. (So does it count as fiction? Of course!) It's great bus reading, sucking me away from the humdrum existence of public transit. Today I reached this gem:

"Grammar, with its mixture of logical rule and arbitrary usage, proposes to a young mind a foretaste of what will be offered to him later on by law and ethics, those sciences of human conduct, and by all the systems wherein man has codified his instinctive experience."

I love it! It got me thinking about other tidbits that have reaffirmed my conviction (remember, we're ignoring dissonant information today). Anyone out there have good examples of your own?

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Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma