(Excerpt from Jack Pelham’s Nine Paradigms.)
Self correction is the natural duty of all people. It seems quite obvious that if each of us were in the habit of honestly and diligently correcting his or her own errors, the world would be a much nicer place. Thus should we assume upon ourselves an obligation to correct our own errors. This applies to everything from simple matters of fact to deep moral/ethical issues.
To cite some random and mundane examples, we strive to use proper grammar, we refuse to use the word “Indians” to refer to people who are not from India, and we refuse to enter through the “Exit” and vice versa. Further, we hold that it is better to admit it when we are wrong, and to clean up any mess we have made, whether figurative or literal. Should we stray over the center line when driving toward an oncoming tractor-trailer, we deem it in our own best interest to correct our path immediately. Should we drop crumbs on the kitchen counter, it is clearly better to clean them up than not. Should we misspell a word, it is better to go back and correct it than to leave it be.
These things, whether mundane or monumental, are important in principle, and it is our adoption and adherence to these principles that make us who we are. People who do not adopt self correction as a way of life are unreliable and untrustworthy. We, however, would like to be more helpful than that to those around us; it brings us joy to do that for others, as well as for ourselves. Though the tasks may seem trifling and inconvenient in the moment, I have never once regretted taking the time to clean off my desk, or to go back and correct a typo in an email or article I have written. Self correction is a way of life that is much superior to leaving behind oneself a string of negligence, errors, and omissions by which to be hounded for a lifetime!