History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes with “brotherlucker.”
“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.” – Alexander Hamilton
Rainy days are such a damper on the spirit of young people. Right now the rain is pouring down and my kids are standing there, tears in their eyes and their noses pressed up against the living room window.
I guess I should let them in.
I always think it’s a great and satisfying thing when someone whose work I admire is friends with someone else whose work I admire.
A while back I wrote about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the idea that stupid people just about always think they’re experts at everything, while smart people have self-doubts. Not only do stupid people reach erroneous conclusions and make bad choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability and awareness to recognize it. As economist Paul Krugman writes, the truly incompetent are too incompetent to realize they’re incompetent. And as my dad used to say: there’s no one stupider than someone who knows everything.
Well, it turns out that a friend of researcher David Dunning…. is John Cleese.
“You see: if you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are… If you’re absolutely no good at something, at all, then you lack exactly the skills that you need to know that you’re absolutely no good at it.”
And the awesome blog Wickersham’s Conscience had this to say:
“When you combine ignorance, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and pride in that ignorance, together with an unwillingness to develop judgment skills… well, you’ve got Sarah Palin.“
I was reading an article the other day, and it said, “The perfect way for a couple to spice up their love life is to have sex in a car wash.”
It’s also the perfect way to ruin a church fundraiser.
“I remind myself that this awful time in my life will pass like all the others. How do I know this? If I look back over the course of my life, I can see it.
I’ve had some great times. They’ve passed. I’ve had some awful times. They’ve passed, too. I can see that everything before this has passed.
This also will pass. It has to.” – James Gummer
The Apricot Tree
Once upon a time there was a farmer who wanted to try out a fruit tree he had never had before. In his day he had planted apple trees, orange trees, and walnut trees, but never an apricot tree.
So one day the farmer talked it over with his family. While not all of them were wild about apricots, they agreed that the idea of a new kind of tree was exciting.
So the farmer got himself a seedling and planted an apricot tree.
He watched it grow, but it didn’t grow any faster than any other fruit tree. This frustrated him. He thought, “This tree is special, it is my first apricot tree. It is my ONLY apricot tree. I want it to bear fruit, sweet juicy fruit!”
So the tree grew, but it didn’t grow any faster than any other tree. Its fruit would be special, but it would not be any more plentiful than the fruit from any other kind of tree. And it wasn’t there yet.
Seemingly forgetting how long his other trees had taken to reach a mature height and bear fruit, the farmer began to get angry with his apricot tree. During times of drought, he gave it less water than he gave his other trees. In those times, the tree grew even more slowly than before. This angered the farmer.
When rains came, and the tree started growing again, it still couldn’t yet bear fruit. The farmer raged at it, plucked off its leaves, and snipped off live twigs from its branches in rage and frustration.
But while a tree bears no grudges, nor does it grant favors. A tree prospers if cared for, and grows as best it can if not. It bears fruit when nature says it can and should, not when a farmer says it can and should—even the farmer who planted it.
Before the apricot tree could bear any fruit at all, the farmer was so disgusted with it that he ignored the growth it had enjoyed, and disregarded the flowers it produced with promise of bearing fruit in due time. One day in a fit of rage and frustration he uprooted it, broke the wood into green twigs, chopped what he couldn’t tear with his bare hands, and left the wood to dry so it could be burned for kindling.
When the kindling had been burned the farmer said that was all apricot trees were good for, and he would never plant another one.
He was one farmer. Embittered by his experience, he never again tried to grow an apricot on his farm.
Other farmers took better care of their apricot trees, remembering that they could not rush nature to please their whims.
And the world has not run out of apricots.
(Originally posted at Democratic Underground by poster DFW. Tweaked slightly for context.)