Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12-2-08: "Hindsight is 20/20"

I was in the car yesterday and began to wonder aloud about the phrase "hindsight is 20/20".

It's an interesting phrase in that it brings in the idea that it implies that when you look back at something after the fact, it all becomes clear.

But 20/20 is just average vision, so would it be possible for some one to say "hindsight, in this particular case, is 20/15"? Or even better, 20/10?

Let's say you're a very perceptive person, and find out about something that some one else did and said "Gee, that wasn't too bright. I would've done it this way." Let's say you're way above average, perception-wise. Your hindsight wouldn't be 20/20; that's just average. I'm assuming you have a working knowledge of said incident, and aren't necessarily new to it. Otherwise, it wouldn't really be hindsight. You have to have SOME role in it.

And what if it's not quite clear what went wrong. Would hindsight then be 20/30 or worse? Aren't there varying degrees of clarity of which one's hindsight could fall into? Let's say you're talking to your friend Bob about how you and Bob probably shouldn't have done those extra shots the night before. Let's say Bob doesn't see the problem in waking up in the spoon position. Is his hindsight not 20/20 like yours?

AND... does it really have to deal with vision? Can a blind person have 20/20 hindsight? I doubt it. That's probably why you don't see many blind people make dumb decisions in the first place. It's the people with perfect vision who you have to keep a keen eye out for.

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