In the News (from Nautilus): “It’s an odd quirk of the human mind that we tend to think we’re less likely to be affected a particular threat—be it the flu, a car accident, or a flood—than anyone else. Like the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, this is a patent impossibility: Everyone can’t be less likely than the average person to catch a cold. But we persist in what psychologists call ‘unrealistic comparative optimism.’ Even when we have actually encountered a threat, or been in close proximity to one, this warped sense of the probability field persists, as a report published last year shows.
“In the study, researchers had a chance to test how people’s comparative optimism changed after a low-probability, high-impact event: a tornado that ripped across Iowa City in 2006, causing $12 million in property damage. And their results were faintly comical: Everyone they polled, from students to randomly selected Iowa City residents to people whose neighborhoods had been damaged, felt both soon after the tornado and a year later that they were less likely to be affected in the future than the average person. In fact, six months after the events, people in damaged neighborhoods were actually more optimistic that they would not be affected again than were those living in intact areas. After a year, their optimism returned to the usual level—but still, as always, holding that they were less likely to be affected than others.”
My Comment: We are within our egoism, and we cannot objectively evaluate anything before we exit it. Until then, we will perceive the world through the prism of egoistic error.