F. Scott Fitzgerald said “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
To which I’d add that the test of a first-rate capacity for empathy is the ability to hold two opposed positions in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to think for yourself.
Shoe-shifting, the ability to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes is a fundamental skill of extraordinary power. It’s almost as magical as shape-shifting in fantasy in sci-fi. It’s the scientific method applied to social life. We tend to assume science is, at core, about experimentation, but there’s a deeper core still, a core that experiment serves. Science is the recognition that to get what you want, you have to set aside your want long enough to see what is. Then, clearer on context, you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want.
The Buddhists capture this approach when they say, “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”
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