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Cunningham's Law

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Cunningham's Law

Tips: 0.75 INK Postby Sepokku on Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:23 am

Cunningham's Law states "the best way to get the right answer is not to ask a question; it's to say the wrong answer." The French also have a popular saying, "prêcher le faux pour savoir le vrai" which means to preach the falsehood to know the truth. Sherlock Holmes is a fictional example of someone who uses this method.

What is it about human nature that makes this true? Is this a good or bad thing about human nature, and what are some examples of Cunningham's Law that you have used in your life?

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Re: Cunningham's Law

Tips: 0.75 INK Postby mombie on Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:34 pm

I don't know jack about philosophy, but I use this technique with my own kids and kids that I work with in school. With my experience with children, saying "Oh, here I have an Oval" when I really have a Square gives the children some strange sense of motivation/justice/incentive to correct something they know to be wrong. For kids, I think it makes them feel good to get something correct. We do this a lot in the younger grades, and for one reason or the other, this type of "teaching" seems to work better than always just asking questions and expecting correct answers.

I don't know how this would apply to adults or philosophy, as philosophy eludes me and I am not particularly interested in it.
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Re: Cunningham's Law

Tips: 0.75 INK Postby lostamongtrees on Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:51 am

It Feels Good To Be Right

mombie wrote:I use this technique with my own kids and kids that I work with in school. With my experience with children, saying "Oh, here I have an Oval" when I really have a Square gives the children some strange sense of motivation/justice/incentive to correct something they know to be wrong. For kids, I think it makes them feel good to get something correct.

It does feel good to be right, which got me thinking on the psychology of correct data. This is hard to find research on, why we need things to be "correct", but I found plenty of interesting information regarding the psychology of being right. Funnily enough it all started with physiology.

Physiology
Harvard Business Review published an article called Your Brain is Hooked on Being Right, and in it they explain the direct physiology of being right in relation to stress.
HBR wrote:When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again.

This got me thinking on the difference in circumstances and why we are so compelled, truly compulsed, to fix incorrect data. There's something physiological being triggered via stress. Stress does all sorts of things to people, but when it comes to data, we enter a seemingly different mind state. Cunningham's Law is the exhibition of this mind state being triggered. We have to be right, and not just for the sake of being right.

It legitimately stresses us out that someone, or something, is wrong.

Why does it stress us out so much, when there's incorrect data?

Psychology
There's a lot of information out there to be found on the psychology of needing to be right. It's a toxic, inflammatory, and as aforementioned an addictive part of being human.
The author of The Destructive Desire to Always Be Right attributes the desire to a regressive state called "Infantile Omnipotence" - defined as the greatly exaggerated sense of self-importance that many very young children develop from the natural tendency to be “the center of their universe" (definition source)

steemswede wrote:...the world - including the people in it...must behave as perfection demands. Instead of hunger for new experiences (which are perceived as threatening), the individual strives for confirmation and assurance.


Confirmation & Assurance
When someone so brazenly presents something wrong as fact, it threatens reality and now must be confirmed to be wrong, else assumed to be right. Even allowing the assumption of truth to a falsehood threatens any assurance & must be abolished. The "infantile omnipotent" state is easily triggered by Cunningham's Law when you take into consideration that we store all data and use all data to make reasonings in all aspects of life.

Cunningham's Law = Any inaccuracy of information threatens the stability of reality itself and therefore MUST be remedied, immediately !
(or else all parties subjected to the inaccurate information may lose their minds! )


Imageafterthoughts & related

More on how we use data to make reasonings in all aspects of life:
This article on Why We Believe Alternative Facts goes more into detail in that regard. Confirmation, assurance, and the need to solidify our reality:
Matthew Hornsey, PhD wrote:It's almost as though the sophisticated approach to science gives people more tools to curate their own sense of reality


Do We Actually Remember Everything? - a very and interesting and relevant read as to how our brains store data.
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