" ... the mindsets we form from everyday experience close us off to possibility. It doesn't occur to us to rethink much of what we learn about the world because we tend to learn mindlessly; it's not that we aren't paying attention to whatever it is we are learning, it's that we aren't paying attention to the context in which we learn it. We don't consider that what's true here may not be true there. If we don't think to improve our ideas, we can't update or improve them. It won't occur to us to question how we know what we know, what facts we base it on, and whether the science that produced those facts is suspect. The hefty price for accepting information uncritically is that we go through life unaware that what we've accepted as impossible may in fact be quite possible. ... "
- Dr. Ellen J. Langer, from "Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility"
Dr. Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard, is being honored this Saturday, September 24, by the NYU College of Arts & Science Alumni Association. (She graduated from NYU in 1970.)