Wanting people to make mistakes
“You have to be cruel to be kind.”
The idea that people should make mistakes in order to learn from them assumes that people cannot learn the same lessons from other’s mistakes.
You do not need to make mistakes to learn lessons, since you can learn it from other sources without as many issues.
The idea that you can only learn by making the mistake yourself is a shallow and cynical view of humanity. The only difference between learning from your own mistakes and learning from someone else’s is your perspective. The perspective when failing yourself means having the blame (and perhaps guilt) of failure, and suffering the consequences (and perhaps pain) of the mistake. These things are simply emotions, and while they may quickly and efficiently teach someone a lesson, they are not necessary and are more harmful than learning a lesson from someone else. Learning from someone else means having a more objective perspective on what went wrong, without being biased by the negative emotions of it. While you don’t get he same impact this way, we should not depend on impact to teach us things.
This method is unintentionally malicious. It wishes for someone to learn something for their own good but wishes them harm in the process. If this were the only or best way to learn, then the failure might be worth the lesson, however it often isn’t.
One should not require an emotional state or feeling o0r learn something. Learning in such a way does things such as scaring someone into adopting an idea or method, or have them perform the actions they were supposed to learn, but without truly understanding the value of them. Instead they simply act out of fear or some other emotion.
This can also lead to traumas and irrational fears, causing people to act overly cautious, taking extreme measures that may otherwise hurt them, or simply acting in an irrational way to avoid the mistake again. This method teaches people through suffering, hoping that the pain will make them change their mind. It is a backwards and to greater or lesser extent brutal method.
If we depend on self interested hedonism (avoiding pain) alone to deter us from errors, we also risk forgetting how bad the pain was or growing confident enough to think that we have overcome it. If we learn through pain, we risk forgetting the emotions and rash decisions we made to avoid the mistake.
This is essentially the same tactic as throwing a child in a pool to force him to learn how to swim. This will obviously make most children cry and panic, with a high risk of them drowning without help. This is barbaric and possibly traumatic. By allowing or pushing someone to fail you are showing consideration for them in one way but also showing a distinct lack of consideration for them in another. You’re both teaching them for their own good and also making them suffer. To know that someone would intentionally make you suffer does not reflect well on that person. It is a sort of hypocrisy and lack of empathy by not having an issue with seeing or making someone suffer.
How we should learn from mistakes
Instead of learning through pain, we should learn in a more comfortable and reasonable environment by gaining a better understanding of the risks of the mistake in question. Instead of realising first hand that you are susceptible to this mistake, you should learn that you should not assume that you are immune to anything. You should also specifically learn about the mistake to understand how it works and the ways it may come about. That way you will have a realistic perspective of how likely you are to make this mistake, how many possible ways you might accidentally make it, and therefore how to avoid it. A whole and in depth understanding of mistakes allows you to calmly and rationally deal with them, both practically to avoid then, and mentally to not be scared or worried about them.
What we need is to abandon confidence in place of certainty, so that we do not make as many mistakes in general. We also need to be reasonable in our decisions to avoid extremes such as extreme caution or extreme recklessness that can cause us further issues. We need to be alert and plan ahead to avoid such mistakes. If we still make mistakes, then we should learn from them without becoming overly cautious, blaming others, or doing anything hastily and without proper thought. What we should not do however, is allow people to fail simply to show them their mistakes.
Some people may be too confident or too close minded to learn from others’ mistakes and it may be very difficult or impossible to teach them the proper way. In such extreme cases, it may be justified to have them fail, or think they have failed, in order to break their close mindedness. This should be a last resort as it can be harmful, although it might be tempting since it is an easy solution.
We should encourage and teach people without forgetting our empathy and without resorting to extreme methods because they are easy. We should not be cynical and think that only one method is possible.
Promoting mistakes is harmful and we should instead help people to truly learn and want to help themselves to avoid mistakes.