This month’s Socrates Café question(s):

“Why do people insist on being right? Is it possible to break people of this habit?”

Thanks to all of the attendees who contributed to a lively and stimulating meeting. I hope to see many of the new faces again in the future. Until then, feel free to continue the discussion below.

5 Responses to “October ’08 Socrates Café”
  1. Bevan says:

    the Right Man always lands first right handed
    the left dial is like an island at night stranded
    my Right Truth is righteous fruit among vipers
    my wrong answer is a cancer among survivors
    my Right Idea is like a kite with a Key
    that has been struck 7 times like a bell in the sea
    by the lightning that soothes
    The Divine Right of God’s Light
    so i no i am wrong
    with a plank in my I

  2. Jandek Phil says:

    lots of things cause people to insist on being right… lack of confidence, desire for publicity, fear of being wrong, other people taking credit, the commies – it’s always the commies…

    my advice, create an environment where being wrong is OK

    OR create an environment where ideas and thoughts aren’t rewarded but making something tangible is rewarded (Einstein had the idea for the Atom Bomb, but it took a team to create it. Same with the Model T, the Macintosh, Oxyclean and Lost.)

    OR, more difficult but even better: create an environment where nobody is wrong (in everything inbetween Daycare and Eldercare we’re reminded how wrong we are)

  3. Randy Zeitman says:

    >> “Why do people insist on being right? Is it possible to break people of this habit?”

    It’s impossible…being right isn’t a habit, it’s the cornerstone of existence. You are you…I am me…right? Right. See?…I think therefore I am means that I existence … and since I do exist I guess that’s good since I want to exist in the next second too…and the next. Guess that means my very existence means that existence is right…guess I better protect myself by trying to convince everyone else that my way is the best way…otherwise others’ ways may conflict with mine and my very existence will be threatened.

    Hmm…come to think of it I can’t think of anything I’ve ever said that isn’t right…maybe not correct but it’s right. If I say the sun is blue, is it? Well no, but I knew that when I said it…so I was right in knowing that. Am I unsure of that fact?…well maybe but I know 100% that I’m right about being unsure about it.

    Like someone said (and rightfully so)…it depends on what “is” is…but then again it doesn’t because no matter what “is” is, that’s exactly what it is and that’s exactly right.


    (In other words, every assertion is inherently righteous…even when we assess it’s wrong we rightly did so, and if I messed that up to I rightly figured that out too.)

    So what am I saying? I’m saying that being right is grounded in language and can’t be overcome. It’s like asking “what would exist if the universe didn’t exist” or “What came before reality?”

    (hopefully the answer to both of those isn’t “David Blaine”.)

  4. Arlene Callahan says:

    Interesting question…interesting answers. I think Jandek is correct with the connection between the need to be right and fear. Fear causes otherwise reasonable beings to act in ways they otherwise would not behave. Fear is tied to self preservation. Randy also uses the words “to better protect myself”. Yes, that is why some people always have to be right. You can lead the conversation to say, “Right about what” and “Who decides who is right” but it doesn’t matter. The inability to look at another’s point of view is a sign of weakness and fear. Can people change? Sure…..with confidence, a strong sense of self, and self love, people can do most anything.

  5. Kristina says:

    I wholeheartedly disagree with the premise of this month’s Socrates Cafe. I am wrong ALL THE TIME, about EVERYTHING, and I just accept it and move on. Usually turns out to be a good learning experience. It doesn’t make me feel embarrassed, or inadequate, or whatever. It just makes me feel like me!