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New research says it might have something to do with “motivational reasoning.” “People completely ignore contrary information” and “develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information,” says one scholar. Sharon Begley reports.
OK, so no famous brain coined this pearl of wisdom. (The earliest citation for this quote is Sudden Death, Rita Mae Brown’s 1983 novel about lesbian pro tennis players. However, Moms Mabley did once say, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Same difference, I guess.)
Attribution aside, it’s just a dumb thing to say. It’s not the dictionary definition of insanity; it’s an impatient person’s definition of insanity. Think of the famous authors whose novels were repeatedly rejected, or the thousands of experiments it took to perfect Edison’s lightbulb, or the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall. Another old saying has it that ”If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Crazy? You decide.
Neither view consitutes a universal truth, and either one can be a reasonable course (and maybe even a winning one). No, dear readers, the definition of inanity is repeating a trite phrase over and over expecting to sound wise.
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