Sunday, January 29, 2012

Illusory Superiority

It's the first weekend this year that I wasn't able to go home and yes, got stuck at the dorm all because of flu. Add sore muscles to that, too. On a lighter note, this is my very chance to catch Father Thor, my favorite priest, in his 5:30-7PM Sunday service at the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Chapel at the campus' confines. And so off I went to church with some friends.

We were lucky to get some front seats. And the sermon was all about the Lake Woebegon Effect. Lake Woebegon isn't a lake mentioned in the Bible, neither in the atlas. It's Garrison Keillor's fictional town, with which he mentions in his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. It's a town which is said to be where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average"The Lake Woebegon Effect, the natural human tendency wherein one overestimates another's capabilities, was named after the fictional town.

So the Lake Woebegon Effect is synonymous to Illusory Superiority or other names such as Above Average Effect, and Superiority Bias. A Psychology topic in church, eh? But I'm not against that being taught in church. I'm just amazed that that thing being the topic, in my own perspective, is timely, very timely.

As a college student in a prestigious university in Asia, I always have this thought at the back of my mind that I am greater than some people who got into other universities, who got lower grades than mine, who flunked a subject that I didn't, etcetera, etcetera. There are times that I came to ridicule someone because of it. And if you give it some thought, maybe you, too, have had experienced whipping and being whipped by that Lake Woebegon Effect. And I just realized that it doesn't do any good for me and for my "victim". Though I know that I can be caught by its tentacles every day, I know that I can somehow prevent it from doing so with my own little ways and if I didn't, I can always try to clean up my mess and somehow (though I know I can't completely) alleviate the pain I made others feel. 

I don't know but I just felt the need to write this. I'll try to shoo off the Lake Woebegon inside me starting today.