Why it’s good to be wrong (you might invent the airplane)

Why it's good to be wrong (you might invent the airplane)This excerpt from a letter, by airplane inventor Wilbur Wright to his friend and fellow aircraft designer George Spratt (written April 27, 1903), may explain some of the more nuanced thinking which led he and his brother Orville Wright to develop the first airplane. The bold sentence is what is usually quoted, but the entire paragraph is worthwhile:

"It was not my intention to advocate dishonesty in argument nor a bad spirit in a controversy. No truth is without a mixture of error, and no error so false but that it possesses some elements of truth. If a man is in too big a hurry to give up an error he is liable to give up some truth with it, and in accepting the arguments of the other man he is sure to get some error with it. Honest argument is merely a process of mutual picking the beams and motes out of each other’s eyes so both can be seen clearly, Men become wise just as they become rich, more by what they save then by what they receive. After I got hold of a truth I hate to lose it again, and I like to sift all the truth out before I give up an error."

Source: A History of Aerodynamics and its Impact on Flying Machines by John David Anderson

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