It's important that we learn from our mistakes but I'm reminded every day of evidence that I don't.
Leaving the light on, failing to close a cupboard door, neglecting to pack up after myself.
I swear it doesn't happen on purpose but evidence mounts over a lifetime that some things just can't be explained by "not concentrating". Not all the time, anyhow.
Just ask your significant other, or those trained in dementia.
Scientists have a theory that damage to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain can leave you with an inability to learn from mistakes, and maybe there's something in that.
It's enough to drive you to drink really, which is one of the areas scientists apply the theory to. Relationship counselors see it a lot, too, they say, and often refer to it as your personality.
It's tough coming to terms with the idea that your behaviour may be due to brain injury but never underestimate the impact of nagging.
The concept can possibly be applied to the wider world as well.
Take the looming US election outcome for instance. It looks possible they might make the same mistake again, and clearly someone is out of their mind, but judging by the 2020 US election campaign, damage has already extended way beyond the pre-frontal cortex.
Can science provide a rational reason why we fail to learn from mistakes?
Well yes, particularly when you argue the main mistake is believing in science.
Certain public figures trade strongly on that and gain real traction across topics like Covid, climate change and the Easter Bunny.
It even crops up in more esoteric subjects like whether rugba league is simply the best, compared to AFL.
I try not to engage in this debate each year, and then grand final weekend comes round and I'm exposed to Victorians.
To them, AFL is a superior game, and I get that we're not talking about facts here. It's more a faith, belief, religion thing. And I respect that. But then the grand final is played at night for the first time ever, away from the hallowed monopolistic turf of the MCG, and the game is a cracker of a contest and a spectacle. Fact!
Instead of rejoicing, Victorians decry the event as an abomination that defied tradition and didn't respect "the game".
Always a mistake trying to follow their logic, but we should cut them some slack I suppose, they have been cooped up for a while. And good on them for getting those Covid numbers down. They obviously learned something there.
Not sure the practice of immediately gathering in huge numbers the moment restrictions were lifted augers well for consolidating that lesson.
The same when you look at the surge of infection rates overseas. Some might say we're brain dead, but that wouldn't be very constructive.
Better to accept that learning is a never-ending process, and mistakes are all part of learning.