What If What We Know Just Ain’t So??
Our minds deal in stories. We remember stories far better than we remember strings of unrelated information. Indeed, much of “thinking” is the creation of coherent-seeming stories out of disparate sensory inputs and information that flows from other people. Our own personal storylines are important to us, and our cultural stories define the way we think about ourselves in relation to others. Stories are in large part how we arrange the world in our minds. That is part of being human. However, our attraction and susceptibility to stories means that we often latch onto explanatory stories which are illusory, incomplete, and incorrect. This results in problems. As Mark Twain is purported to have noted, it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble; it’s the stuff you know for sure that just ain’t so. In the Wizard of Oz, the surface story was a green wizard with the superpower to grant wishes, while the real explanation was a projec tion machine run by a salesman. The citizens of Oz were expecting a wizard so that seemed perfectly reasonable to them.
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