One of the texts I am reading for Cherry Hill is The Craft of Research. There was no pun intended in the title. The book contends that we should read other people's research with "amiable skepticism." The phrase immediately caught my imagination.
One of the things that I've noticed about humans is that we are wrong - a lot. Yet when others make the wrong decisions and disappoint our expectations, most of which we haven't made clear but demand others follow anyway, we get angry. This is pointless given the lead statement in this paragraph. Shouldn't we expect people to be wrong? Not only in dealing with others but in how they perceive themselves? What if we viewed our interactions with others from the perspective of amiable skepticism?
Some would view that as a negative point of view. I disagree. There is nothing negative about being amicable. There is also a great margin of error in taking many people at face value. They often do not follow-up on what they say, much less our projected expectations. Viewing others lovingly yet being aware of various potential errors seems to be a greater virtue than skepticism or rabid distrust.
I realized that this is a teaching method of my mentor. The harshest he's ever said anything is, "I don't think so." There is nothing accusatory or distrustful and nothing that sounds the least bit like a know it all. Is treating folks with amicable skepticism a form of love? For if we do so, we feel no disappointment in others and therefore able to remain engaged.
While this seems like a shift in theme, please bear with me. Earlier today, My Gal asked me to relieve some pain for her. I did my normal shtick which to me looks like a series of awesome visuals but has no power at all. She says my ministrations relieve the pain so who am I to argue? When I was finished she said, "You'll have to show me how to do that sometime." The immediate answer that sprang to mind was, "You just love someone without trying to control them."
Is this the same as amicable skepticism? In neither case is there the need to control the form of the outcome to the interaction. It is simply interacting without attachment. In this, may be a secret.