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Ethologist and Nobel Prize Konrad Lorenz has no doubts. Find out why in this post!

Does it pay to be a contrarian?

2024 April 16 | by Arduino Mancini Effective thinking - Heuristics and biases

One of the main, as well as ordinary, aspects of my work, is to define the boundaries of situations before determining the actions to be taken.

When I am dealing with many, sometimes too many people, offering the same interpretation of a given situation, my mind goes to this excerpt from Konrad Lorenz, taken from the book On Aggression.

Let us read it together.

When listening to old songs or even musical marches, I feel that a chill wants to run down my back, I resist the temptation by telling myself that even chimpanzees when they wish to instigate social attack make rhythmic noises. To add to the chorus is to extend one’s hand to the devil.

Exactly the unanimity is a sign that the issues to be clarified may be many and hidden by common thinking.

How to behave in such cases?

The path is rarely straightforward, but the first step is no doubt to try

to gather, alongside information that confirms a given interpretation,
information that denies it.

And it is always the latter that helps me define the scenario with enough clarity.

In short, being a contrarian systematically brings significant benefits.

How do you cope when uniformity clouds the view of people around you, and your own?

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