Friday, March 12, 2010

i-TFTD #262: On Belief

i-TFTD #262: On Belief

#262-1. If something exists, it must be possible.
-Amory Bloch Lovins (b. 1947), experimental physicist and environmentalist

#262-2. They were so strong in their beliefs that there came a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness.
-Louise Erdrich, (b. 1954), author

#262-3. Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.
-Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), English author, critic, & lexicographer

Though the original context could have been different, the quote could help us catch ourselves from the common phenomenon of denial. It could be a software developer's first reaction to a tester, "There is no bug!" It could be a manager saying the product cannot be maintained at the same quality and sold at a lower price when told that a competitor is doing precisely that.

Such an ostrich-like attitude when persistently demonstrated by groups of people, can lead to dangerous situations.

All this might have started innocuously out of sheer mental laziness. Tim Hurson says in his book, "Think Better" that productive thinking is hard work because nature and evolution have designed our brain to take efficient shortcuts in the form of well-set patterns.

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