Kathryn Schulz in her insightful TED talk discusses how it feels to be wrong when we don’t know we are wrong. It feels like we are right! This is because for most of us our ideas, and beliefs, and opinions, and values are connected to who we think we are – to our very being. Yet, if and when there is a disconnect between the goodness of God’s creation and our ideas, beliefs, opinions and values we find ourselves dealing with the concept traditionally known as sin.
In Eastern Orthodox theology ‘sin’ is often viewed as an ontological problem. That is to say it is connected to our being or the very nature of our existence. This is quite different from Western theology which tends to locate sin as moral or juridical problem. I believe what Schulz is trying to explore is more closely related to the notion that our fallibility is ingrained in our existence, in our being.
Her talk raises significant questions about our assumptions of what is ‘true’ or ‘right’ including: How do I confess that which I do not recognise as wrong in my own life? How do I allow deeply held belief etc. to be questioned? How might knowledge of my own ‘wrongness’ lead me treat others? How do I live with the idea of being wrong, possibly even constantly?
In a world built around certainty and success Schulz’s talk leads us to contemplate how we might approach other little more humbly, and less self-righteous and possibly God a little more honestly.