DUNNING-KRUGER AND TRUMP COUNTER INTUITION

You might ask yourself, “How is it so many very ignorant individuals also are so very arrogant?” And, you might also ask yourself, “How is it so many very arrogant individuals also are so very ignorant?“ Assuming you are neither ignorant or arrogant, you might be interested to know that this curse on humanity is not an illusion, but instead an actual psychological condition. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, named for Cornell psychologists who studied and in 1999 documented the phenomenon.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger observed in this ultimate counterintuitive proposition: you need skill and knowledge to judge how skilled and knowledgeable you are. In the field of psychology, the Dunning-Kruger effect is known as a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. Seem familiar?

It should come as no surprise that the Dunning-Kruger effect is attracting a lot of attention these days.

With intuition and self-help innately out of the question for most Dunning-Kruger sufferers (i.e. Donald Trump) and because too many (of his) enablers choose to ignore the condition, society is left to suffer the frustrating and dangerous side-effects.

HOW IS IT THIS “DISABILITY” IS DANGEROUS?

Syndicated columnist George Will wrote in his Washington Post opinion piece (5-3-17) that President Trump suffers from a “dangerous disability.” He is too arrogant to fathom his own ignorance, because he “does not know what it is to know something.”

David Brooks, author and opinion columnist for The New York Times, was even more direct when he wrote “When the World is Led by a Child” (5-16-17). The essay featured multiple piercing assessments of Trump’s “infantalist” behavior, including, “His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself. He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence.”

Journalist Jeff Greenfield appearing on CNN (8-27-17) diagnosed Trump’s bullshit disability as such: “The president’s relation to reality is casual at best.”

Brooks noted as well that for Trump “Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency …” By the time we reach adulthood, Brooks lamented, most of us obtain a level of self-awareness and “learn the subtle arts such as false modesty, so they won’t be perceived as obnoxious.”

But it is Brooks’ most profound observation that would be funny were it not so sad: “We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.”

 

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