It is not lost on me that most of our books this semester has been about being wrong, or solving a problem or a “how to” book. Pursuing a doctorate (imposter syndrome not withstanding) takes a certain level of confidence and belief in ourselves that we have something the world needs. What if we are wrong? What if we get to the end of our second year and go…what was I thinking? I would imagine, a semester of this sort of reading has a purpose; it brings us to ourselves and is hopefully helping us to listen to our shy souls as Parker Palmer notes in his book A Hidden Wholeness. It also equips us to slow down a bit, though the pace is swift, and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, who is at work in this world.
Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A theory of Human misunderstanding by Bobby Duffy, is a wakeup call to this modern age where “’Fake News’ was named Word of the Year in 2017 by at least one dictionary publisher”. I have had my own gut-check this year with the way our media influences our children, my 10 year old loves You tube, and most of the time I am in the room with him while he watches these obnoxious Gamer youtubers scream and over-over react to whatever video game they are watching. However, there is only so much I can take and send him to a different TV, thinking we had restrictions on. We didn’t. I am appalled at what my child has seen, and the shame spiral it has sent him down thinking he’s a bad kid. The world found him, he didn’t go looking for it, he just knows it was not good and therefore it makes him a bad kid. How heartbreaking is that. I remember watching the Cosby Show and Different World and Cheers and knowing I had to wait for the shows, they were not just at my fingertips. Imagine this world as a 10-year-old, any information you want or maybe don’t want is right there in less than a minute. We are living in one great big wrong!
How do we combat that? Many times, I walk into my hospice patients homes or facility room and they have been watching news for hours sometimes days, because what else is there, they have lost all hope in humanity and the world is in decay. Now in some ways this is helpful as they are in the process of letting go of this world, but what is not helpful is that they are hopeless. They no longer are out in the world witnessing beauty and simple acts of kindness that are what matters in this world…the news does not show these simple acts. It’s ‘fake news’ in that we are only being told part of the story of life on this earth. “Now we need to imagine ourselves as beacon towers of information, standing tall in the integrity of what we say, pulsing out congruent messages everywhere”. Character and integrity, what if we are called in our Doctorate work to be these beacon towers of information with integrity? Perhaps, this breaking us down into understanding how long our shoreline of ignorance really is, is not to put us in our place, or create more imposter syndrome symptoms, what if it’s to open us up to greater possibilities and risk? We need to know that standing in the gap with our projects takes risk, and we better be darn mindful of it!
I don’t call us out to shake our faith in our God or our calling, as Kathryn Schulz says in her book Being Wrong, she “introduces us to a scenario devised by William James to help us think about the merits of certainty. What he means is that shaky ground should not always deter us from unshakeable faith”. Unshakeable Faith, yes.
Now what? Duffy not only creates a little bit of shakiness in our world views, but he also offers us a solution on pages 232-240 called “Ten ideas for how we can form more accurate views of the world”. I encourage you to look at these when you can, I find them to be very helpful. The very first rule is “Things are not as bad as we think- and most things are getting better”  . Even as an optimist, this one is a hard one for me to truly believe, but it yields into the concept of Hope that I spoke of earlier…it’s the little acts of kindness and beauty that we take time to notice that bring us hope. In other word’s we need to reframe our view. “The benefits of a benevolent view, is to start from the assumption that people are trying to do good things (or at least, that they are not actively trying to pester you).” If we can take a benevolent view with others and with problems in the world…Don’t you think we should start with ourselves? I am beginning to think, with some sarcasm, and some truth, that when this doctorate work is all over, I’m okay with being Dr. Wrong!
 Duffy, Bobby. Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2019. Pg 13
 Wheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. San Francisco, CA. Berrett-Koehler Publisher, Inc, 2006. Pg. 57.
 Schulz, Kathryn. Being Wrong: Adventure in the Margin of Error. New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. Pg 165.
 Duffy, Bobby. Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2019. Pg. 232.
 Wedell-Wedellsborg, Thomas. What’s your Problem? To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2020. Pg. 122.