A very important point from Oliver Burkeman in his Guardian blog post.
Institutions – from national newspapers to governments and politicial parties – invest an enormous amount of money and effort in denying this truth. The facades they maintain are crucial to their authority, and thus to their legitimacy and continued survival. We need them to appear ultra-competent, too, because we derive much psychological security from the belief that somewhere, in the highest echelons of society, there are some near-infallible adults in charge.
In fact, though, everyone is totally just winging it. [added emphasis]
As he goes on to say,
This realisation is alarming at first, but it’s ultimately deeply reassuring. As the UK organisation Action for Happiness likes to point out, one of the biggest causes of misery is the way we chronically “compare our insides with other people’s outsides”. We’re all mini-New York Timeses or White Houses, energetically projecting an image of calm proficiency, while inside we’re improvising in a mad panic. Yet we forget (especially in an era of carefully curated Facebook profiles and suchlike) that everyone else is doing the same thing. The only difference is that they think it’s you who’s truly competent.
[Well… not you, obviously… – Ed] Obviously!