Wednesday, 23 September 2020

future imperfect

NPR’s excellent podcast Hidden Brain (see previously here, here and here) explores the halo effect and hindsight bias, the tendencies to reframe past events as more predictable and straightforward consequential than they could have possibly been once the outcome is known and discount the difficulty of forecasting and intentionality for the future, through a pair of tragic post-mortems that were nonetheless accidents no matter how haunting and haunted we assay our incidents. Not to say that there are no sinister motives and bad, ill-informed choices but certain narratives have appeal because it allows us to assign blame and preserve a sense of agency when confronting the real chain of events might seem too dicey, too random. Far from being exculpatory, finding meaning in successes, calamity and near-misses is empowering.