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Part of wisdom is the ability to say, “Now, wait a second, are there other ways to look at this?”
When we’re out on a walk, studying for a paper, talking to some friends, or watching the news, it’s guaranteed that we’ll bring ourselves along for the ride — as well as all our baggage. We bring our memories, education, upbringing, and culture. We come draped in a swaddle of preconceptions and cognitive biases. We each have our window onto the world, yet windows will only ever have one view.
Haidt’s wisdom is to change this. For however one-directed we might be, our human intellect allows us also to adopt multiple perspectives. We can imagine what it’s like to look through a different window. Like the Indian parable of the blind men groping at an elephant, we each occupy only a tiny vantage point on the world. Truth and reality cannot be grasped by a single mind; rather, they are the jigsaw of many.
“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison
When we see the great wisdom that comes in trying to suspend our assumptions and adopt those of others, when we see the value in stepping away from our biases in order to see more of the picture, we can maybe recognize our limitations and try to overcome them.
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