“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.” — Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I begin with this quote to convey the feelings evoked in a recent exchange with a neighbor, one in which surprise (and some horror) was felt during the course of the conversation. Logic and ‘reasonableness’ had little place in the interchange. I had just been reading a short article that looked at particular German words that gave expression to complex emotional states. An excerpt is as follows:
“Fremdschämen describes embarrassment which is experienced in response to someone else’s actions, but it is markedly different from simply being embarrassed for someone else….Fremdscham (the noun) describes the almost-horror you feel when you notice that somebody is oblivious to how embarrassing they truly are.” Further…”Fremdscham-inducing events…usually cause one to ask this question: “how on earth can these people be unaware of how stupid they are being right now?”.
I invite you to read this short article on the cognitive bias created in the Dunning Kruger effect – an effect that causes one to be unaware of their performance – and their incompetence.