When You’ll Believe Anything
“The more you want something to be true, the more likely you are to believe a story that overestimates the odds of it being true.”
“Everyone has an incomplete view of the world. But we form a complete narrative to fill in the gaps.”
B.H. Liddell Hart (historian) in his book “Why Don’t We Learn from History?”: “History cannot be interpreted without the aid of imagination and intuition."
The sheer quantity of evidence is so overwhelming that selection is inevitable. Where there is selection there is art. Those who read history tend to look for what proves them right and confirms their personal opinions.”
Daniel Kahneman: “Hindsight, the ability to explain the past, gives us the illusion that the world is understandable. It gives us the illusion that the world makes sense, even when it doesn’t make sense. That’s a big deal in producing mistakes in many fields.”
Rather than accept that we don’t know something we actively attempt to develop personal theories (stories) that create illusory understanding that is psychologically comforting. Illusion of control vs. the reality of uncertainty.
Recognize that there is much you do not know and much that is outside of your control.
Philip Tetlock (psychologist): “We need to believe we live in a predictable, controllable world, so we turn to authoritative-sounding people who promise to satisfy that need.”
Kahneman identified relevant errors in cognition:
When planning we focus on what we want to do and can do and neglect the plans, actions, and decisions of others who might impact our personal outcomes.
When studying the past and forecasting the future we overemphasize individual skill and discount luck.
We focus on what we know and ignore what we don’t know. This results in overconfidence.