November 21, 2019-
One of the things our parents instilled in my siblings and me is that it’s possible to learn from anyone. I took that as a dictum to listen and to draw lessons from what someone does, as well as what is said.
Jordan Peterson’s tenth rule for life is just that: “Learn from those who know what you don’t know.” Watching and listening is always a good thing, when combined with the ability to discern right from wrong. I can listen to someone describe how they snookered gullible people, in their old neighbourhood, and LEARN: 1). How not to let that person, or someone like him/her, take advantage of me; 2. How not to treat a gullible person. On the other hand, I can watch and listen, carefully, to a seasoned automobile engine mechanic demonstrate how to remove and replace the rings and valves of the engine, and maybe, given the right circumstances, perform the activity myself.
A Roma man, in Paris, after failing to con me into taking a ring that I had seen him drop on the sidewalk, decided to tell me of other tricks that his rivals, on the Right Bank of the Seine, might try on me. These tips came in handy, especially as when it started pouring rain, I only wanted to get back to my hotel. Yes, the scams included “Monsieur, look! My uncle is coming, with his pedicab!!” (There was no pedicab, as my Roma friend had told me there wouldn’t be. He had said that, if I looked on cue, two deft fingers would search my back pockets. As it happened, I had only a soiled handkerchief in my back right pocket, and nothing in my left, as my valuables were secure, elsewhere.)
One can also learn from observing others, and from overhearing them. I try to keep that to a polite minimum, but it has often been beneficial, so long as I don’t try to inject myself into their business, without cause.
The greater point is: None of us knows everything, and those who pretend as much, fool few outside of their own circle-if even them. Baha’u’llah prescribes adopting a humble posture of learning. It is that which leads me to read, to observe what goes on around my Home Base, to stay abreast of current events and to travel, when time avails itself.