Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups
"Much of error's emotional force comes from its capacity to unsettle our idea of who we are (280). -- Kathryn Schulz
In Chapter 13 of Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz explains, among other things, how wrongness can be viewed as "a natural and ongoing process, and we are not deformed but transformed by it" (289). She makes a strong case, really a variety of cases for the links between error and transformation.
Of the topics Schulz addressed, in the chapter what did you find especially notable? Why? Please identify the page number for the concept or idea
that you cite.
The most notable topic in my opinion was when Schulz talked about conversion stories. "In these stories, the experience of being wrong challenges and transforms our very sense of self (279)." It is a scary thought to possibly think that our opinion of ourselves could be wrong because it challenges all our other beliefs. This can be a good thing because we get to see things from different perspectives and adopt new/altered opinions. It allows us to become better people and personal growth. Also, it gives us a more open mind to others' opinions and values.
What I found most notable in this chapter was on page 280. Schulz is talking about how we have this idea that we know who we are and that we will stay the same person. Schulz states "One of the most formidable powers of wrongness is to challenge this assumption." We need to challenge ourselves. We need to change and become better people. There is always room for improvement. I know I am not the same person I was 4 years ago in high school.
For me, this was a very interesting chapter. I think the most notable thing that was mentioned was on page 281 wherein she said, "...our errors represent a moment of alienation from ourselves." I found it interesting that she describes a revelation or epiphany of such nature, as an out of body experience, but I know exactly what she means. I know from personal experiences, just because you think life is going to follow a particular course of events, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen that way. Yes, you may end up with the same result but your course of action may have been completely altered because you had to experience some things before you got there.
The phrase that spoke to me in this chapter was on page 279 when Schulz says "What makes conversion stories distinctive in the annals of wrongness is that they don't just involve repudiating a past belief in order to believe something else. Instead they involve a wholesale change in identity." What she said is very true. People don't usually like to admit when they are wrong because they may have to rethink their everything they had been taught up to that point. When people are proven wrong about something they generally feel stupid. No one likes to be made to feel that way so they keep believing they are never wrong.
There were a lot of interesting stories and parts of this chapter, but the story that stuck out to me as the most memorable was the racial story in the beginning of chapter 13 dealing with a Ku Klutz Klan leader C.P. Ellis and African-American community leader Ann Atwater. These two were brought together because there county of Durham, North Carolina wanted to desegregate schools, but this was not working as well as planned, so Bill Riddick brought them together to be co-chair of a committee to help this problem. In the beginning Ellis was very reluctant and didn't want to even sit at the same table with Atwater, and then he began to receive threatening phone calls, which lead him to call Atwater. When they began to talk, Ellis realized they had the same issues with the only difference being skin color and even began to cry. It was until Ellis realized they had so many similarities and struggles (pg 277) that he was horribly wrong about Atwater and they were able to move on.
I found it interesting when Schulz said "But the errors featured in conversion stories show us that we aren't always as we imagine ourselves to be." I liked this statement because it's explains pretty much everyone. A lot of times we think we know who we are but we really don't. We imagine ourselves to be one way but people on the outside see us completely differently. Sometimes we are blinded by who we actually are & who we want to be.
The concept I found most interesting was on page 283 about how we can be wrong about ourselves and how "the brain is wider than the sky" and "we exceed our own boundaries; we are more and other than we know ourselves to be." This was very powerful to me because I think we underestimate just how powerful our mind and body are.
The most notable was when Schulz said, "To agree that we can be wrong about ourselves, we must accept the perplexing proposition that there is a gap between what is being represented (our mind) and what is doing the representing (also our mind)"(282). It was interesting to me because it is a true, but very confusing and hard thing to except that the mind actually cannot fully contain itself and that it is virtually impossible to fully know yourself. I also agreed with Schulz about the fact that being wrong about ourselves is the hardest thing to overcome because knowing ourselves provides confidence and the feeling of security.
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