Everybody Makes a Mistake Once in a While
Drypoint on 240gsm Arches etching paper, 2009, Ed 25. by Chris Diedericks
Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.
- Al Franken
Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
- Billy Wilder
The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.
- Dennis Waitley
A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.
- Isaac Asimov
Human reliability is related to the field of human factors engineering, and refers to the reliability of humans in fields such as manufacturing, transportation, the military, or medicine. Human performance can be affected by many factors such as age, state of mind, physical health, attitude, emotions, propensity for certain common mistakes, errors and cognitive biases, etc.
Human reliability is very important due to the contributions of humans to the resilience of systems and to possible adverse consequences of human errors or oversights, especially when the human is a crucial part of the large socio-technical systems as is common today. User-centered design and error-tolerant design are just two of many terms used to describe efforts to make technology better suited to operation by humans.
My work Everybody Makes a Mistake Once in a While deals with the age-old issues of blame and guilt. Blame, like praise, is the act of informing an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, his or her action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. There are other senses of praise and blame that are not ethically relevant. One may praise someone’s good dress sense, and blame the weather for the crop failure.
Philosophical interest in praise and blame derives from questions surrounding the appropriateness praise and blame responses. What makes it appropriate to praise and blame someone? There are two main schools of thought on this question. Firstly, utilitarian thinkers argue that praise and blame are appropriate just in case they bring about useful results. The second school of thought may be called the desert theory. According to this theory, praise and blame are appropriate only when they are deserved. Immanuel Kant is an important proponent of the desert theory.
Everybody Makes a Mistake Once in a While specifically investigates blame as a deeply rooted masculine phenomenon. In my personal experience men are quick to blame and are slow to forgive. The work visually investigates a lineage of silence and a deep lack of meaningful communication between men, and of course between men and women. A “real” man is never wrong and the admittance of guilt is a sure sign of weakness within the male domain. Blame in itself becomes the scapegoat for this inherent weakness. Just blame someone else for your own mistake or fallibility. The young man covered in plasters in the foreground of the work is the “scapegoat” in Everybody Makes a Mistake Once in a While. This figure is a visual clue for intense debates about the “New Man” or the metrosexual man as referred to in current theoretical discourse.