The Joys of Being Wrong About Yourself

Learning that self-discovery is a process, not a punishment

Stephanie Georgopulos
Human Parts
Published in
16 min readSep 19, 2019

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Illustration: Daron Nefcy

InIn February I was introduced to a man, a successful man by any standard, a man called Rupert (and naturally by “introduced,” I mean I heard him talk about himself on Radiolab for three minutes). Rupert is your average 71-year-old podcast guest, probably, except for one thing: He has gone almost his entire life knowing nothing about science. I mean it. I mean it as someone who failed earth science once and biology twice. (I never got around to failing chemistry but I’m confident I could, if given the opportunity.) Rupert could not fail science, because he never took a science class — and in my unscientific opinion, it may have been the best thing to ever happen to him.

Rupert is accomplished in his field: He spent time as a journalist and editor for the Economist, then as the Bank of England’s Deputy Governor; he’s published several books on economics. But until last year, Rupert had never heard of the periodic table. He didn’t know he was a mammal until his wife — a scientist, I shit you not — told him so. (“I thought she was [calling me ‘mammal’] as a term of abuse,” he recalls, jovially.) Rupert narrates his scientific discoveries like a kid with a card trick. Here’s something you’ve never seen before!, except most of us have — but have we, though? Have…

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Stephanie Georgopulos
Human Parts

creator & former editor-in-chief of human parts. west coast good witch. student of people. find me: stephgeorgopulos.com