Lewis Thomas' 'The Medusa and the Snail' on Mistakes: An Analysis

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It is undeniable that mistakes are a bsic fundamental of life. Whether or not that is a good or bad thing, is much harder to determine. In a passage from The Medusa and the Snail, biologist Lewis Thomas discusses mistakes and how they affect our life. In the second paragraph, Thomas claims that we, as humans, learn by "trial and error". Although at first though this is seemingly true, but when it comes down to it, just how accurate is this saying? Some people make a mistake, learn from it, and move on. They will remember the consequences, and strive to never be in the same predicament again. Others, however, continuously make the same mistake. For example, generally, a person who does drugs once will repeatedly do it again and again. If this were not true, addicts would not exist. Instead of identifying this behavior as a problem, they simply look over it as if it is not a bad thing at all. Thomas says, "What is needed, for progress to be made, is the move based on the error." Most discoveries are made by accident. Productive mistakes are everywhere: science, medicine, history, and so on. For example, a pharmaceutical company developed Viagra as a heart medication, and it was to their surprise that the drug effectively benefited those suffering from erectile dysfunction. Accidents like this happen everyday, and sometimes, they can have a positive outcome. While some parts of Thomas' claims are true, others are difficult to agree with. Although some people do use their past mistakes to learn and grow as a person, not all are this wise. It is hard to make such a hasty generalization such as all people learn by "trial and error", and expect it to be

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