Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"I could be wrong!"

Today in ongoing class we talked about the book Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni. The book's subtitle is, "The twenty-five rules of considerate conduct." Many people, sadly, have not been taught such rules during their upbringing and so would definitely benefit from a book like this. All of us would do well to review the basic pinciples of considerate behavior. The "rule" that we looked at in class today was this one: "Be Agreeable."

Here's an excerpt from that chapter:
At any given moment, on any issue, there is the possibility that YOU might be wrong and someone else might be right. Keep that possibility in mind. Then, if you realize that you are wrong, find the strength to acknowledge it openly. Do so graciously, without harboring resentment toward the person who happens to be right. The same awareness and openness apply to not knowing. We are not omniscient and nobody expects us to be. So, reconcile yourself with not knowing and admit that fact to your interlocutors. Training yourself to consider that you might be wrong and to admit that you don't know will mark a crucial point in your relationships. Accepting those limitations about yourself will make you much more accepting of others. You will listen to learn rather than to react and you will be less likely to attack, to be dismissive, to doubt good intentions, and to be dogmatic.
I'm impressed with the list of benefits in that last sentence. That's quite a payoff from the willingness to acknowledge that we can be wrong or that we simply might not know something.

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