Sometimes we persist in a course of action although it ought to be perfectly clear that it will lead to a disaster. Afterwards in the memory of the event we unconsciously persuade ourselves that our action was not really so stupid.
There are situations where both cause and effect are visible at the same time which brings out the idiocy before our very eyes. One instance would be in an aircraft where a film is being shown to passengers in one section and another copy of the same film is projected to passengers in another section. In a seat from which both screens are visible one can see the same film being run at the same time. The two films are about a minute out of sync with each other and result in us seeing the actors in one scene vigorously playing their part whilst on the other we see the consequences of what they were doing the previous minute.
One man is provoking another and seems to think he can enjoy himself and get away with it, but we watch on the other screen the victim snatch up a bottle in a sudden burst of fury and stun his tormentor.
The same point appears in different forms and we are soon convinced that human beings are very poor judges of the probable effects of their own actions.
We leave the aircraft hoping that this is true only of the world of films.
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© 1999 Trevor Leggett