Recently, I learned a new term that describes a situation that I was familiar with and exposed to many times. This term was Anosognosia.
Anosognosia is viewed as a deficit of self-awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers certain disability seems unaware of the existence of his or her disability.
This basically ties back into Donald Rumfeld’s speech explaining that there are unknown unknowns. Things that we simply don’t know that we don’t know.
Unknown unknowns are particularly dangerous because of our oblivion. If we knew that we didn’t know something, we might have been more conscious or skeptical when faced with the problem. However, because we are unaware that we don’t know something, we may blindly walk into a trap. This is evident in the hit TV series, Nikita, staring Maggie Q and Shane West.
Nikita is a rogue agent who escaped Division, a top secret organization that takes troubled people on death row and turns them into assassins for the government. Because Nikita was sick of killing and the murder of her loved ones, she decided to leave division becoming the first to ever escape.
Now here’s where anosognosia comes in. Nikita wasn’t content with escaping Division. She wanted to free all of the others stuck inside the organization. Her plan was to take Division down. In order to do so, she set up her trainee, Alex, to be accepted into the program and become her mole inside of Division. Alex was able to update Nikita whenever there was a mission and Nikita was able to stay a couple of steps ahead allowing her to sabotage many of the missions.
Because Division was unaware of the mole, they didn’t know what to do. They simply thought Nikita was just that good for the longest time and failed to stop her at the source. This unknown unknown led to the ultimate demise of Percy (the leader) and division was overrun.
This is just one example of how anosognosia can be especially dangerous and harmful to its victims. It is tough to spot and hard to prevent. Counsel and advice from others is always helpful in conquering unknown unknowns and a little bit of skepticism may be helpful from time to time. However, don’t let yourself turn into a paranoid freak.