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  • The Incumbent Problem refers to the vast, but often overlooked and unfair advantage

  • that all new people, cities and jobs have over existingor, as we put it, incumbent

  • ones. The beautiful person glimpsed briefly in the street as we step off the bus, the

  • city visited for a few days of holiday, the job we read about in a few tantalising paragraphs

  • of a magazine; these have unwise tendencies to seem immediately and definitively superior

  • to our current partner, our long-established home and our committed workplace and can inspire

  • us to sudden and (in retrospect sometimes) regrettable divorces, relocations and resignations.

  • 5641625328_f50d7fbc77_bWhen we spot apparent perfection, we tend to blame our spectacular

  • bad luck for the mediocrity of our lives, without realising that we are mistaking an

  • asymmetry of knowledge for an asymmetry of quality; we are failing to see not that our

  • partner, home and job are especially awful, but that we know them especially well. Incumbents

  • are the victims of disproportionate knowledge. They are generally no worse than anyone or

  • anything else, but as they are familiar, their every failing has had a chance to be minutely

  • charted. The corrective to disproportionate knowledge is experience. We need to mine the

  • secret reality of other people and places and so learn that, beneath their charms, they

  • will almost invariably be essentiallynormalin nature: that is, no worse yet no better

  • than the incumbents we already understand. The solution to the incumbent problem is to

  • extrapolate from what we already know and apply it to what we don’t yet. The most

  • plausible generalisation we can make about unknown things is that they are likely to

  • be closer to what weve already experienced than they are to being completelyand

  • bountifullydifferent. We should beware of the injustices we unthinkingly visit upon

  • all the incumbent features and relationships of our lives.

  • Our Wisdom Display cards explores what it really means to be wise and how we can strive to be more wise in our everyday lives.

The Incumbent Problem refers to the vast, but often overlooked and unfair advantage


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B2 中上級

知らない人が魅力的に見える理由 (Why Strangers Can Seem so Attractive)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日