Proving that we are right is not as empowering as probing if we are wrong
No matter how much we know, still, what we know is always lesser than what we don’t know. We usually operate within what we know, establishing our routines and executing our responsibilities within that zone.
Yet periodically, we encounter things that we don’t know – not just factual details about things that we can find by a simple Google search, but also foundational conceptions about familiar things whose some unfamiliar aspect we have stumbled on. For example, we might think that we have our life mapped out, but something or someone might turn out in a way that we didn’t expect. At such times, we might, if we have sufficient power, force our belief on reality, but for how long? Facts always win, simply because of being facts. That’s why whenever we decide to argue with reality, we can’t win.
And what applies to an argument with reality might also apply to an argument with someone else, who may have a better grasp on reality than we have. If we try to use our specious logic or brute force to crush their opinion, we will defeat ourselves in the wrong run.
Whenever confronted with the unknown, if we strive to check whether we are wrong, that learning attitude will not only empower us in that situation but also help us learn something new about the structure of reality that can empower us lifelong.
Indeed, a learning attitude was what Arjuna adopted when he surrendered to Krishna, seeking understanding (Bhagavad-gita 02.07) and acknowledging the futility of all the reasoning he had been doing till then (02.06). As he became empowered by the Gita’s timeless wisdom because of his willingness to learn, so too can we if we seek Gita wisdom amidst our confrontation with the unknown.
Think it over:
- What is wrong with proving we are right?
- How does probing whether we are wrong empower us?
- Is there any situation where you may be better off probing rather than proving your understanding of things?
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