TITLE: Being Wrong in 2015 AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: January 01, 2015 11:29 AM DESC: ----- BODY: Yesterday, I read three passages about being wrong. First, this from a blog entry about Charles Darwin's "fantastically wrong" idea for how natural selection works:
Being wildly wrong is perfectly healthy in science, because when someone comes along to prove that you're wrong, that's progress. Somewhat embarrassing progress for the person being corrected, sure, but progress nonetheless.
Then, P.G. Wodehouse shared in his Paris Review interview that it's not all Wooster and Jeeves:
... the trouble is when you start writing, you write awful stuff.
And finally, from a touching reflection on his novelist father, this delicious sentence by Colum McCann:
He didn't see this as a failure so much as an adventure in limitations.
My basic orientation as a person is one of small steps, small progress, trying to be a little less wrong than yesterday. However, such a mindset can lead to a conservatism that inhibits changes in direction. One goal I have for 2015 is to take bigger risks intellectually, to stretch my thinking more than I have lately. I'll trust Wodehouse that when I start, I may well be awful. I'll recall Darwin's example that it's okay to be wildly wrong, because then someone will prove me wrong (maybe even me), and that will be progress. And if, like McCann's father, I can treat being wrong as merely an adventure in my limitations, perhaps fear and conservatism won't hold me back from new questions worth asking. -----