As fish are unaware of the water

I’m reading Mistakes Were Made (but not by me). Long overdue. Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.

There’s a bit on the idea of anger and venting or catharsis that I recognize from Tavris’s book Anger, which has always spoken to me. That’s because I’ve sat through so many work meetings where people “got their issues out into the open” and everybody talked piously about how this would make things so much better, and I always noticed that it did no such thing, it made them worse. When people vent their anger they don’t then sigh and smoke a cigarette and feel all happy and relaxed. They get more angry.

More on that later. First there’s a part where they’re talking about what I think is the fundamental attribution error but they don’t call it that. My long involvement in issue X makes me an expert; your long involvement in issue X makes you prejudiced. (Aka irregular verbs – I’m committed, you’re prejudiced, she’s a zealot.) [Read more...]