Why is it so important to be right?

This is my 6th post on the subject of echo chambers. If you have not read the previous posts, I encourage you to do so. Clicking on echo chambers on the menu above will take you to the previous posts.

It is my premise that awareness and acceptance of our human fallibility is the key to avoiding the negative consequences of our own particular echo chamber. That premise is a stark contrast with our unrelenting desire to be right, the quality that is the creative force of echo chambers.

A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right , basically all the time, about basically everything : about our political and intellectual convictions , our religious and moral beliefs , our assessment of other people , our memories , our grasp of facts . As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it , our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.
Schulz, Kathryn. Being Wrong

Why is it so important to me that I be right? Kathryn Schulz is helpful …

…moments of rightness represent both the high – water marks of human endeavor and the source of countless small joys . They affirm our sense of being smart , competent , trustworthy , and in tune with our environment . More important , they keep us alive. Individually and collectively , our very existence depends on our ability to reach accurate conclusions about the world around us . In short , the experience of being right is imperative for our survival , gratifying for our ego , and , overall , one of life’s cheapest and keenest satisfactions . (Being Wrong)

It’s curious how mightily our thoughts and beliefs defend their territory. Why is it so vital to be right? Well to begin with, if you’re not right, then you are indeed wrong, with all the accompanying sense of humiliation and failure. ***

It can hardly be overstated how important and powerful is our need/desire to be right. The extent to which we are willing to protect our rightness is frightening… from the mundane to the global…wars, genocide,  racism, not to mention the sacrifice of relationships and professions. The cost of rightness can be expensive. 

Despite our need/desire to be right, there is one incontrovertible reality, our fallibility. The greatest peril of being right is that we lose an awareness that we are fallible… that we can be wrong. Some might argue that we are aware of our fallibility.
I am unaware of anyone, who would objectively deny their human fallibility e.g. “Of course, we all make mistakes.”
However, I know a lot of people (including myself) that are adamant they are not mistaken in their rightness. Somehow our belief that we are right trumps the truth that we fallible beings. Why is that?
Coincidentally, Erwin McManus in a recent lesson offers a challenging explanation:


Prov. 12: 15 Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice. (GNT)

Wise people are really aware of how often they are wrong. Even when they are right they feel a sense of wrong.
Stupid people always think they are right. They never have to justify their actions. They never have to justify their choices because they think they’re right. If you are always right you’re not always right, you’re always stupid
By choosing to listen you begin to attack the stupidity in your life. 
Wise people listen to counsel. You never get so wise that you do not need advise.
Stupid people think that wise people don’t need advise. And that’s why they are stupid. Wise people need less advice and want it more. Wise people need less advice and seek it more. Stupid people need more advice and seek it less.
Here’s how to know where you fall on the spectrum of stupid or wise. If you are asking people for counsel and input in your life you are wise. If you are looking for people that agree with you, you are being stupid. Ironically, stupid people always pretend they are getting advise.


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