Jonathan Haidt: What Does Being Wrong Feel Like?

A short-but-profound clip from the Veritas Forums. That is Jonathan Haidt and my WUSTL colleague, John Inazu.

What does it feel like to be wrong? Okay think about that feeling and then call it out. Just call it what what words come to mind.


Wow, this is a pretty powerful clip. And sobering. This is one of those things that makes me feel just a little more pessimistic about humanity.

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It might even feel good, if you are addicted to self-righteousness.

I want to zoom down to a particular emotional and psychological pathology. The phenomenon known as self-righteous indignation .

We all know self-righteous people. (And, if we are honest, many of us will admit having wallowed in this state ourselves, either occasionally or in frequent rhythm.) It is a familiar and rather normal human condition, supported — even promulgated — by messages in mass media.

While there are many drawbacks, self-righteousness can also be heady, seductive, and even… well… addictive. Any truly honest person will admit that the state feels good . The pleasure of knowing, with subjective certainty, that you are right and your opponents are deeply, despicably wrong .


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