"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." - Albert Einstein
I've always liked this quote because it's a direct but nicely put jab at people who assume the position of Judge and Juror on pretty much everything. While perception is the basic concept of YOUR reality, things consistently true across the board ARE NOT just perception but actual cases of REALITY. If that made any sense...
When I was growing up I used to always hear my mother yell at my father that he thought he knew EVERYTHING and it's okay to be wrong sometimes. The fact of that situation is that, in theory, my father was right 99.99999% of the time. Today, I'd admit that to him through clenched teeth, but he was. Morally and ethically, he was as sound as can be at all times. I attribute that totally to him looking at things for EXACTLY what they were. Not adding a flair of color here or there to make any situation acceptable when everyone knew it wasn't. Many people rightfully refer to that as thinking in black and white terms. Is black and white thinking wrong? Not at all. This type of thinking will undoubtedly give you the correct answer each and every time. Is it the most empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate way of thinking? No, not in the least bit. Remember, it is not taking any one's feelings into consideration so more often than not someones feelings will get hurt down the road. It is usually the more emotionally in tuned individuals who think along the gray lines and they can't stand people who think in black and white terms, more often than not.
A large percentage of my thinking is in black and white. Blame my father. But as I have matured in age and mind, I have grown to understand that if you want to be an effective people person and you have no desire to have people constantly turned off by who you are, thinking must be adjusted in this area. Does this mean you have to change who you are as a person? No, not necessarily. I believe in the natural "evolution" of character; people should not fight the constant development of character if it is going to inevitably make them a better person. I don't think people should be all of one thing; it leaves for a very unbalanced individual in heart and mind. So someone who consistently thinks in gray terms, leaving very little room for logic or to be reasoned with...well, they are about as crazy as someone who strictly thinks in black and white.
Think back to when you were in elementary school. I'm sure you knew someone who was smarter than the average 9 year old when you were 9 years old. They seemed like they were touched by a genius but in order for them to retain that "touched charm", they would have to continue to learn and improve upon what already excelled above. Take that same 9 year old and keep their level of knowledge at what they know, giving them nothing else to take their intelligence level higher and look at them at 18 years of age. They don't seem that smart now...do they? Yeah, sure...they are still smarter than your average 9 year old but at 18, that doesn't account for much, now does it? If that 9 year old consistently improves upon what they know, they will walk thru life with a brain that many cannot fathom; in a good unfathomable way, not a loony tunes type of thing.
Far too often, I see people that might have been considered smarter than most at some point in their lives only to hit a roadblock and begin to dumb down...of their own accord. Although they still hold a superior attitude to others, they really aren't as smart as they would like anyone to believe...anymore. I see this sometimes in people who "set [themselves] up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge". All my life, I have always searched for balance and while it is not the easiest thing to do, I work at it everyday. My personality does tend to lean a particular way but I never rule out what's on the other side. I've learned that this keeps my brain sharp and receptive to many things...and many people. I never want there to be a time that I didn't understand something due to my own stubbornness and unwillingness to be open-minded. There is nothing worse than believing you are right about something you don't fully understand or care to understand...think about that...how can you be right about something you only see your side on? Not very smart.
So with your coffee, tea, soda, water, or whatever it is you're drinking this morning...think about how often you are willing to TRULY understand someone else's viewpoint...or if you have become "the laughter of the gods".