फ़्रैन लेबोविट्ज़ की तस्वीर

बोलने से पहले सोचें, सोचने से पहले पढ़ें

फ़्रैन लेबोविट्ज़

मीडिया की लगातार बमबारी और हम पर विचारों की बौछार होने से, गलत सूचना की संभावना अधिक है। हम जो देखते हैं और जो सुनते हैं उस पर हम विश्वास कर सकते हैं, लेकिन तथ्य यह है कि यह वास्तविकता का बिल्कुल भी प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं करता है। मनोवैज्ञानिक अध्ययनों से पता चलता है कि प्रत्यक्षदर्शी की गवाही अविश्वसनीय है, जिसका अर्थ है कि हमारा मस्तिष्क जिस तरह से व्याख्या करता है कि हमारी इंद्रियां वास्तविकता का प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं करती हैं। हम अपनी इंद्रियों से जो देखते हैं और जो हम अपने दिमाग में व्याख्या करते हैं, उसके बीच हमेशा एक असंगति होती है। और अगर हमारी व्याख्याएं वस्तुनिष्ठ वास्तविकता के करीब नहीं हैं, तो हमारे विश्वास और राय भी व्याख्या के निर्णय से घिर जाते हैं। उस स्थिति में, हम जो बोलते हैं वह भी अविश्वसनीय होता है। तो क्या सच है? और हम इसे कैसे खोजते हैं?

The wise would say that it’s important to think before you speak. Your impulsive speech is a manifestation of the immediate interpretations, however subjective they may be, of your mind. But when you have had a chance to mull things over, you can analyze them in retrospect. You can better understand the fallacies of your own mind and take into account the perspectives of others. A great example of this would be the sunk cost fallacy. Suppose you are in your home library, reading a book you bought recently. You’re halfway done with it, but are absolutely not enjoying it.

The rational, logical thing to do would be to set that book down and pick another that is more enjoyable. But the mind and its impulses trick us into believing that since we have already made a considerable investment in the book – in terms of money, time and effort – it would be silly to put the book down. But in fact, the previous investment you have made has no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the book or your enjoyment levels from it. Your past investment shouldn’t deter you from dropping an unprofitable venture. All the ruckus could go away if only man thought before he spoke or made decisions.

बोलने से पहले सोचें, सोचने से पहले पढ़ें - फ़्रैन लेबोविट्ज़
Think Before You Speak, Read Before You Think – Fran Lebowitz

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. What is the quest of truth in a world were humans have access to only a limited spectrum of subjective thought? The wise say thinking before speaking, but there’s a step even more crucial than that. And that is reading before thinking. As I demonstrated before, our speech heavily relies on our thoughts, and millions of factors influence our thoughts. Our backgrounds, childhoods, workspaces, frame of mind, personality, education and likes and dislikes, to name a few. And the only way to get past these influences and move in the direction of the absolute, objective truth is to take into account perspectives other than ours. To learn to look at things in a holistic way, instead of looking at it in bits and pieces. As the believers of the gestalt route say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This requires a kind of systems thinking. Systems thinking goes beyond what looking at things with a narrow, limited gaze and looking instead at the bigger picture. It involves discarding petty, restrictive perspectives in favour of a bird’s eye view. And the best way to practice systems thinking would be to read books. Reading books voraciously and madly, devouring them whole, being greedy and obnoxious in their consumption.

This is the only way of gaining easy access and entry into another’s perspective, of forsaking your own views for a moment and accepting those of others. And books do this through the best way possible – through empathy and compassion. By prompting you to feel what you don’t organically feel and by making you sensitive to characters, books allow you to think from another’s perspective. And the more you read, the more perspectives you add to your mindset, ultimately resulting in a rainbow of perspectives.

So, the quest of truth is this – read before you think, and think before you speak.