Ever hear of a premortem? That’s a term devised by Daniel Kahneman in his absorbing book Thinking, Fast and Slow. It refers to his recommendation that at the inception of any new project or venture, in the flush of excitement and enthusiasm at potential success, it’s helpful for one or two people to dampen the enthusiasm by saying something like: “Let’s fast forward 3 to 5 years. This project about which we are so presently excited his failed. Why did it fail?”
Kahneman isn’t recommending killjoys, but suggesting that enthusiasm over the potential success of a project among its proponents will likely overlook potential problems that could contribute to its failure. In such projects, a premortem could be much more valuable than (prevent, maybe) a postmortem. A contrarian viewpoint could avert defeat.
Similarly, with respect to the Christian faith, John M. Frame has advised that when a shiny new movement comes along, we should always first ask ourselves, “What’s wrong with it?” And there’s always something wrong with it. Frame counsels not leaping onto the bandwagon under the pressure of the excitement of a new movement’s Halcyon early days.
Each is, in his own way, is valuing contrarians, minority thinkers who resist the majority report.