Opening our perspectives by adhering to the idea of being wrong
Our ego is formed so that we see the world from our only perspective. We live with the intimate conviction that truth is on our side by simply experiencing a reality through the filter of our subjectivity. How can we change our way of thinking in order to access the truth of others?
Truth could be defined as the sum of collective truths from which individual lies are subtracted. Thus, we each hold only a part of the truth, that is to say that a percentage X of what we think is true while a percentage Y is simply wrong. In order to increase the value of X, we must be able to get rid of the quantity of Y. The problem being that we do not know by definition what are the wrong thoughts of the correct thoughts that we have.
To carry out a constant purge in order to increase X, we must question everything we think in such a way that our ideas somehow pass through a sieve. To do this, we must imagine ourselves to be wrong and place ourselves from the point of view of our opponents. How do they see the world? What could make them right?
We have to put ourselves in their skin in such a way that we appear foreign to ourselves and observe ourselves from an external point of view. This exercise is unpleasant because it is uncomfortable to be wrong.
Yet this exercise is essential because it makes us aware of the common things that persist despite the fact that we have changed skin.
Since truth is what remains after we have gotten rid of egotistical attachments, this extrospection exercise is actually very useful to get rid of the misconceptions that clutter our minds. The more we repeat this exercise, the more we will realize that the truth finally could fit in a pocket handkerchief and that it is what binds us all.
As an example, let’s look at this situation, that of a person who thinks that eating meat is a right and that those who denounce the evils of intensive livestock farming are extremists. What would happen if this individual made the effort, even for a moment, to put himself in the shoes of a little pig? Of course for him it would be unimaginable because he thinks he is superior to other species and he grew up in a society where the dogma of anthropocentrism is dominant. If he made the effort to imagine himself in the place of a farm animal and to project himself with his human brain into these caged lives, he would quickly understand that there is something wrong. He would immediately see the injustice in the eyes of the victim and no longer in the eyes of the person who benefits directly from this injustice by consuming his meat.
This ability to put ourselves in the place of other beings is the best we have at our disposal to get rid of erroneous beliefs that cause harm to others. Thus, in order to understand the world around us, it is necessary to open our eyes and our heart to the suffering of others and thus better glimpse the light of truth.