Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Snark Fallacy

If you want to understand the world, recognize this extremely common cognitive error, which I'll call The Snark Fallacy:

"Spotting other people's flaws proves my superiority."

Another version: "Catching you being stupid makes me smart."

If you watch for it, it's everywhere. It underlies every judgmental person, and humans are incredibly judgmental. It's the mental tic that gives rise to The Dunning Kruger Effect. And it's strange that this mistake is so widespread, given such clear evidence to the contrary. Consider:

1. Every slightly bright 14 year old is a leading expert on flaw spotting. Yet scant few are genuinely superior.

2. The most intelligent and accomplished people (if they're emotionally healthy) tend to be non-superior and non-judgmental. They spot your stupidity, yes, but they spot their own, too....and realize that we're all mixed bags.

Read "A Confederacy of Dunces"!

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