The other night I was watching the new Magnificent Seven and being singularly unimpressed with it. The plot was both soggy and formulaic. Although I don’t think formula is always a bad thing, you need to have a great script to make it work.
Anyway, I wrote a note on Tumlbr in the middle of watching it that I wasn’t impressed and some people mentioned that they didn’t think the original was all that great.
Blasphemy! I thought. Of course lots of movies that you see as a kid do not hold up as an adult. But the last time I watched it was 10 years ago and I know it had not lost it’s sheen of enjoyment
So I pulled up some key scenes on Youtube and I was reminded I still liked it. Wooden acting and formulaic, incredibly generic star cast, and I liked it. Why?
Sometimes we have already made a decision about a thing and so all subsequent thoughts are influenced by that decision. It’s called confirmation bias. I like Magnificent Seven. So now I see things I like. I don’t put much value on its flaws. I place value on the things I liked.
Confirmation bias can be a dangerous thing, blinding us to reality. Think Trump fans.
But it can also be a good thing. It’s the thing that keeps people happy in marriage. We place higher value on the things we like than the things that annoy us in the people we love. This is particularly true in hindsight.
Babies are the same way. The first few months of a baby’s life are hell for the parents. Particularly first time parents. During those months parents will tell it like it is. It’s hard and exhausting but worth it. Years later all the hard and terrible is shuffled aside and memories are focused on the wonder and love and they remember those times as happier than they were.
The human brain is a mess. But it’s mess often works to our advantage.