Monday, September 8, 2014

When bad information is good

We all want good information, right?  You don't want to waste your time learning something that's incorrect only to find out later that you've been mistaken.  Or does even that have possible benefits?

A long time ago I was watching a Batman cartoon.  In one episode, Bruce Wayne is downtown when a robbery happens nearby.  Before he can react, Batman comes to stop the crime.  But since Bruce is Batman (spoiler!), Bruce is dumbfounded.  What just happened?  After other confusing things happen, Bruce is in the library where he tries to read a book.  The letters and words are garbled, shaped chaotically, impossible to read.  That's when he realizes he's in a dream, because you can't read in a dream.

As a kid, this stuck with me.  I never knew that, but wow, how cool is that!

And then a few months ago, I woke from a dream where I was reading something - and I remembered a sentence once awake.  But you can't read in a dream, I thought!  Hmm.

Turns out I was wrong, and on research, I'm not the only one asking that question.  Other people seem to have heard this "fact" and found it to be wrong.  At first, it's not a big deal.  You find things that you thought were one way were in fact another all the time.  What makes this interesting is that had I never heard the incorrect statement that you can't read in a dream, I never would have given the realization to the contrary any thought.

Something I took as "truth" was wrong all along.  It didn't affect how I lived my life, and I'm sure there are many many more things that I'm wrong about that I haven't discovered.  Still, if I hadn't learned it wrong to begin with, I may never had paid attention to the truth of the matter later; it would have been just a fact among many that I skim over daily.

Does this mean you should learn things the wrong way first?  Nah, that's inefficient.  Just realize that because you now know what was wrong, that knowledge helps you reinforce where NOT to go, what NOT to do, and that can only help you to go in the right, informed direction!

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