Photo by Marina Leonova
Pushing our self into acts of selflessness, if even briefly taking on the perspective of others, is a true attempt to understand other people and where they come from.
- Skill to understand others accurately
- Motivation to do so
Why is it important?
- Common ground
- Stay connected
- Gain insight
Ways to establish perspective taking?
- Focus on the other with no distractions: complete, undivided attention
- Stay calm: Keep an open mind about the other person's thoughts or feelings
- Encourage the other person: Ask questions, share experiences
What are additional strategies?
- Infer what others may be thinking or feeling by reflecting using our own life experiences
- Look for differences between our experience and theirs
Learning About Other People
Listening to audio books of memoirs may help us become familiar with people whose lives are very different from our own.
Unless you're a sociopath, you have morals.
It's important to study the difference in "moral foundations" because while liberals may cringe at "purity," they may also highly stand by their beliefs to accessible organic, non-GMO food. Through relative terms, that food is just like conservative purity.
Our ambitious goal should become to learn about people. To understand them in the context of their own perception of what morality means.
Respect (of another person's perspective) is key to successful dialogue. Nevertheless, this same idea does not imply we should contradict our own ideals. There are exceptions. usually involving law enforcement; if we were an investigator or undercover cop, this is where we must blend.
Now that consider it, there are more exceptions to going against your own morals. By merely being raised in a less than ideal environment; it would be natural for us to be a part of how we were raised.
Drug cartels, gangs, and controlling & abusive households - we struggle to survive in these harsh realities. Respect of another culture may preclude our ability to make choice independent of the tribe from which we are raised.
If our objective is to persuade, it's helpful to frame arguments in terms of their moral priorities.
Stereotypes, or overgeneralized beliefs about categories of people, interfere with productive dialogue. Being judgmental has no place in successful dialogue.
Preconceptions of others (stereotyping):
- Believing your views are too different than the other's
- We may harbor negative feelings toward them
- We might make assumptions about others
...stereotypes are incomplete.
- Ngozi Aichie
How to be Righteous Without Being Self-Righteous
- An act in accordance with higher power or ethic
- The self-righteous view themselves as morally superior
Righteous <----> Virtue <----> Self-Righteous
There's a balance between selfishness and any other thing, with virtue being the center of both extremes.
...being virtuous is more than having a particular habit of acting, e.g. generosity. Rather, it means having a fundamental set of related virtues that enable a person to live and act morally well. - James F Keenan, Proposing Cardinal Virtues, Theological Studies, 1995
Virtue is the equilibrium to the leanings to a person's righteousness.
Cultural humility: Receptive to hearing the views of others
Cultural humility (intellectual humility):
- Regulate one's own necessity to be right
- Respond non-defensively when challenged
- Express curiosity, interest, and willingness to learn from others
- Recognition that one's own beliefs and opinions may be fallible
- Acknowledgement of one's own limitations (in evaluating evidence)
A man has got to know his limitations.
- Accounts for psychological biases (beyond our awareness)
- Salient to dialogue across political lines
Demonstrating intellectual humility:
- Can tolerate ambiguity
- Attuned to dialogue across political lines
Tania Israel describes those demonstrating intellectual humility are seemingly unaffected by uncertainties, or is an ability to understand multiple standpoints of a position; these two things are what Merriam-Webster define as ambiguity.
Perhaps by subjecting our self to more ambiguity (uncertainties, multiple perspectives), we initiate our ability to appreciate such things more often.
the higher the subjectively perceived degree of ambiguity within an artwork, the more participants liked it, and the more interesting and affecting it was for them. - quoted from Claudia Muth on psmag.com
Some fear legitimizing another person's perspective if they don't [consciously] contradict them. - Tania Israel
She goes on to say there's risk (fear) in changing our mind by listening to a convincing argument.
- May create space for uncertainty
- Can enable us to become brave & flexible
- We can hold multiple potentialities (without becoming cognitively dissonant)
Intellectual humility can be cultivated
- Being exposed to a growth mind set
Growth mind set: A capacity to learn is developed; knowledge is not an innate quality.
People who view intelligence as something that can be fostered have less interest in defending their views and are more interested in growing their understanding.
Let's expose our self to concepts of intellectual humility.
This is Fenix Book Reviews.
Until next time...