An in-depth look at stupidity and things that we do not know we don't know. The article is a first in a series by by Errol Morris. Although published several years ago, the series offers valuable insight into why we are the way we are.
When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, . . . they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine.
In other words, those who are incompetent are unable to recognize their own incompetence.
Morris presents a five-part article. The second part discusses Joseph Babinski, a prominent French-Polish neurologist who lived from 1857 to 1932. Babinski coined the term anosognosia - taken from the Greek agnosia, lack of knowledge, and nosos, disease. Anosognosia is the unawareness of or failure to recognize one's own functional defect.
The third part discusses President Woodrow Wilson's stroke that left him paralyzed. President Wilson considered himself perfectly fit to be president through the denial of his incapacity.
The fourth part introduces V.S. Ramachandran and his writings on agosongnosia. Ramachandran, with Sandra Blakeslee, wrote "Phantoms in the Brain." Ramachandran is interviewed by the author of the series.
The fifth and final part of the article returns to an interview with David Dunning. David draws a Venn Diagram of cluelessness, self-deception and denial, each occupying a smaller circle inside the other. Coming full circle in his own way, Morris admits to a fondness of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and ponders if the effect is as hopeless as it seems. Is it possible for anyone to understand their limitations?
Together, the series makes for an interesting read. Well worth the time.
Anosognosia is viewed as a deficit of self-awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers certain disability seems unaware of the existence of their disability.
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