I believe that everyone’s had one of those moments where they were just a tad too confident in themselves. Where they expect to be the champion and come out in last place. The obliviousness is a very human reaction. If you have a winning streak in your town, you might assume that you’re awesome at what you do from the pattern. However, what makes you realize that you’re not on top?
As humans, we make errors daily without realizing it. We naturally try to find a trend in something in order to understand the way things are done. Some can identify the obvious trends, like the repeating wallpaper or tiled floor. Others may not be so transparent and require more investigation to understand the pattern, like those weird number lines where you find the next number(like 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, __) or a rubix cube. So when we make a conjecture and find results that support our claim, we automatically are satisfied with it. We accept our hypothesis without much more research, even though there may be errors within the data. In a way, we’re unaware of our incompetence towards the error.
For instance, there was a bank robber who believed that rubbing lemon juice on his face would make him not appear on camera. He robbed two banks in broad daylight and was arrested quickly afterwards. With the police, he revealed that he even tested it out on his own with a polaroid camera. Unfortunately, he didn’t angle the camera correctly while taking the photo, so naturally he didn’t show up in the picture. In this case, he tested his hypothesis on his own and failed miserably. Independently, he would have never discovered that we had made the error of taking a sloppy photo, or even if there could have been an error in his trial. Our incompetence of what we don’t know can never be discovered on our own.
So how will we ever discover the errors if we don’t know we’re making them? Or better yet, How will we ever know if what we don’t know is there?
Social interaction and communication is the key in every aspect of life. Teachers can confront their students to see if the students are getting anything out of the lesson. Students can ask teachers or other peers if their doing something correctly. Presidents can see advice from their cabinet on certain matters. Language is a uniquely human thing; whether you’re writing an essay or giving a speech, conveying an idea or feeling to someone else to influence thought is what life is. This is where the unknown unknowns become known. As soon as someone else spots the error, you’re blind spot is immediately in the spotlight.
In the end, the more you converse with others, the wider your known spectrum becomes. With so many unknowns in this world, you can only attempt to discover what has been discovered by others. Maybe if people became more aware of this, they’d be able to become more aware and considerate as a person.
( P.S. I really liked exploring this topic. It was interesting to see that this is an actual condition that can be explained. Ironically, this was an unknown unknown for me. Ha. )