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'I beseech ye . . . , think that ye may be mistaken.' I should like to have that written over the portals of every church, every school, and every courthouse, and, may I say, of every legislative body in the United States. I should like to have every court begin, 'I beseech ye . . . , think that we may be mistaken.'
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The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced. It's one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala [an alleged incident that Mrs. Obama had just recounted to the interviewer]. It's another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.
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I should emphasize this, to keep well-meaning but misguided multiculturalists at bay: the theoretical entities in which these tribal people frankly believe "" the gods and other spirits "" don't exist. These people are mistaken, and you know it as well as I do. It is possible for highly intelligent people to have a very useful but mistaken theory, and we don't have to pretend otherwise in order to show respect for these people and their ways.
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The results of life are uncalculated and uncalculable. The years teach much which the days never know. The persons who compose our company, converse, and come and go, and design and execute many things, and somewhat comes of it all, but an unlooked for result. The individual is always mistaken. He designed many things, and drew in other persons as coadjutors, quarrelled with some or all, blundered much, and something is done; all are a little advanced, but the individual is always mistaken. It turns out somewhat new, and very unlike what he promised himself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The possibility that stock value in aggregate can become irrationally high is contrary to the hard-form "efficient market" theory that many of you once learned as gospel from your mistaken professors of yore. Your mistaken professors were too much influenced by "rational man" models of human behavior from economics and too little by "foolish man" models from psychology and real-world experience.
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In a segment of the Sermon on the Mount, appearing in Matthew 5, Jesus is reported to have set six new teachings of his against six old Jewish teachings. The latter are introduced by such words as 'You have heard that it was said by them of old time' and the former by 'But I say unto you.' Since both the teachings of old time and Jesus' new teachings are predicated on the same profoundly mistaken views of human nature and of the world in general, it is unimportant for us here today to compare and contrast these teachings or to determine which is better or worse in some way or other. The point is that whether better or worse, in this way or that, both are lodged in an egregiously mistaken mythology - but in a mythology of enormous importance for us, because it is one of the wellsprings of Western culture.
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