How much does merit contribute to success? A rosy view is that success is mostly due to merit, while a dark view is that success is mostly not due to merit, but instead due to what we see as illicit factors, such as luck, looks, wit, wealth, race, gender, politics, etc.
Over a lifetime people gain data on the relation between success and merit. And one data point stands out most in their minds: the relation between their own success and merit. Since most people see themselves as being pretty meritorious, the sign of this data point depends mostly on their personal success. Successful people see a rosy view, that success and merit are strongly related. Unsuccessful people see a dark view, that success and merit are only weakly related.
No waste of space, lazy parasite ever likes to be called that.
In addition, successful people tend to know other successful people, and people tend to think their associates are also meritorious. So the other data points around people tend to confirm their own data point. The net result is that older people tend to have more data on the relation between merit and success, with successful people seeing a rosy view, and unsuccessful people seeing a darker view.
No such thing as equality of outcomes unless under fascism.
Since the distribution of success is quite skewed, most older people see a darker view. However, that dark majority doesn’t get heard much. Most of the people who are heard, such as reporters, authors, artists, professors, managers, etc., see rosy views, as they tend to be both older and successful.
Or nobody likes to read about failure, you have nothing to learn from those people.
Also, most people prefer to look successful, and so they prefer to look like they’ve seen a rosy view. Even if they haven’t, at least not yet. And a good way to look like you believe something is to actually believe it, even if your evidence doesn’t support it so much.
In sum, we expect the people we hear to be biased toward saying and believing a rosy view of the relation between success and merit. Of course that might be good for the world, if a realistic view would lead to too much envy and conflict. But it would still be a biased view.
We have that
realistic negative view and all it does is cause societal unrest. Stupid kids thinking they’ll be the next big thing on reality TV because it’s always been their dream. I dunno about you, but dreams aren’t a proper foundation for a life, they are by definition unrealistic. People are not equal to their imagination, which can defy the laws of physics.
Added 11p: Of course if they can find a way to rationalize it, we expect everyone to be inclined to favor a view where merit is a big cause of people reaching up to the success level where they are, but non-merit is a relatively bigger cause of people reaching the higher levels above them. When there are many success ladders we expect people to see merit as a big cause of success on their ladder (up to their point), but as less a cause of success on other ladders.
I disagree with the idea what success doesn’t require merit. From childhood until retirement, we have testing systems in place which select for merit, and merits are accorded (or denied) on those bases.
Or to be comical, the old quote that success comes down to luck, ask any failure.
The 21st century is a meritocracy, there are no limits on opportunity, if you’re good enough for the job. You cannot be a doctor if you’re terrible on anatomy, an engineer if you can’t do maths or an artist if you can’t hold a bru-, bad example. There are sound reasons for these requirements, each occupation sets its limits for practical and communal reasons, like a club, and it’s a good thing everyone cannot do all things (diversity) because of decision paralysis and how it takes all kinds to make a world (until the robots come in and replace saliva-abundant fast food workers). If you can dream it you can do it might seem like a nice line for kids, but it sets them up for disappointment or even suicidal depression in the real world because there are limits on human ability and they’ll never drop the false belief, believing they are the failures instead. Those human limits exist beyond society, and civilization, so to blame those things for the failings is deliberately erroneous.
Pop culture example: the first round of X Factor. If the TV show, and society, didn’t exist, they would still be bad singers. Any excuse to the contrary on the grounds of ‘discrimination’ is irrelevant, they discriminate based on the ability to carry a tune.