A Curious Mind W(o/a)nders

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mistakes...you have to live with them

The context for this post is an overlooking of a framework which I knew very well and could have advantageously applied in a paper which I had yesterday, but somehow conveniently forgot in the two hours. That got me back to thinking on a topic which has time and again occupied my thoughts.

Certain types of mistakes scare me.
Especially those wherein despite complete understanding, the mistake occurs. And post-occurence there is no rational reason that can be attributed to the mistake. This leads to two common reactions among people:

1. Atrribution of the mistake to fate/chance, or the assumption of a random statistical error.
Both imply that there are things over which I have no control and must accept as given.

I can't do that, as it goes against my inherent belief of comprehensibility of everything.

2. Attribution of wrong reasons for the mistake.
This is a common human shortcoming, we tend to attribute causal relationships where none exist (and we are aware of it). This is, in fact, the root cause of so many superstitions that we harbour for life.

An approach that I've found useful is just accepting "I don't know" under these circumstances without any attribution or fallacious reasoning. It's only when the "I don't know" is accepted that the possibility of "correct" knowing arises. And if you are not judging yourself by the judgement of others, no external failure/success should matter too much unless you yourself think that there's something wrong.

And this brings me to the next point...how does one correct a mistake assuming one realises the
right reasons. No, there is no way a mistake can be corrected, since one can't travel back in time. You might try to make up for it, you might correct course-correct yourself and so on...but the mistake remains...you have to live with it.

And even if you could travel back in time, would you really want to change those mistakes?
Atleast I wouldn't want to...you wouldn't be what "you" without those mistakes.


Post a Comment

<< Home