wisdom from the Tipping Point…


i found this passage from the book very interesting.

“The mistake we make in thinking of character as something unified and all-encompassing is very similar to a kind of blind spot in the way we process information.  Psychologists call this tendency the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), which is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people’s behavior, human beings invariably make the the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation and context.  We will always reach for a “dispositional” explanation for events, as opposed to a contextual explanation…we do this because, we are a lot more attuned to personal cues than contexual cues.  The FAE also makes the world a much simpler and more understandable place…..

Character, then, isn’t what we think it is or, rather, what we want it to be.  It isn’t a stable, easily identifiable set of closely related traits, and it only seems that way because of a glitch in the way our brains are organized.  Character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstances and context.  The reason that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment.”

so we as humans to make things easy would rather not delve into all the facts of context and situation and just go with the idea of “that’s just the way it is”  fascinating.  makes me want to take another looks at the axiom, “you can’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”

i learning that the “power of context” is HUGE.  what happens when we lose “control of our environment”?

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