Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Anosognosic's Dilemma

Filmmaker Errol Morris continues to use his periodic New York Times blog to dramatic effect. His current 5-part series, of which the first 2 installments have now been published, is titled "The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong But You'll Never Know What It Is." The essay is shaping up as a treatise on how ignorance - deep and profound ignorance of self, of others, and of the world - has a powerful impact on the course of our lives.

"There have been many psychological studies that tell us what we see and what we hear is shaped by our preferences, our wishes, our fears, our desires and so forth. We literally see the world the way we want to see it. But... there is a problem beyond that. Even if you are just the most honest, impartial person that you could be, you would still have a problem — namely, when your knowledge or expertise is imperfect, you really don’t know it. Left to your own devices, you just don’t know it. We’re not very good at knowing what we don’t know."

It is fascinating reading. I know how busy you are, but really - take the time. Morris' new book of essays, tentatively titled “The Cow is Thinking Nothing: My Insane Preoccupation with Seemingly Irrelevant Details,” is scheduled to be published in 2011.

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