It gives me hope when people can admit they were wrong. There’s something redeeming about admitting that one’s judgment is fallible rather than refusing to admit error for the sake of ego.
As an example, this clip from Errol Morris’ film “The Fog of War” features Robert McNamara discussing the events of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In it, McNamara revealed that the U.S. likely misread sonar signals that supposedly indicated an increase in Vietnamese aggression. This misinterpretation helped escalate the war, causing irreparable harm to many. The key exchange:
McNamara: “We were wrong, but we had in our minds a mindset that led to that action. And it carried such heavy costs. We see incorrectly, or we see only half of the story at times.”
Errol Morris: “We see what we want to believe.”
McNamara: “You’re absolutely right. Belief and seeing, they’re both often wrong.”
People make mistakes all the time. That’s what imperfect creatures with imperfect senses and intelligence are born to do. Not being able to admit that is a sign of a delusional mind.