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Understanding is like loving
Before you love someone, you give a damn about certain things, for your own reasons.
When you love someone, you let them change your “giving-a-damn economy.” You start caring about their things, for their reasons.
And often these two economies clash — we often have to sacrifice a thing we give a damn about, in order to properly give a damn about something they give a damn about.
Understanding, learning, truth-seeking — whatever you want to call it — seems to work the same way.
When we learn something new, it changes what we must give a damn about.
“You mean [outgroup] actually has valid perspectives in various ways? But I’ve gotten so used to not giving a damn about them!”
A prerequisite of understanding anything, is willingness to let it change your giving-a-damn economy. If you’re not willing to change what you care about, you’re not willing to learn something new, or to realize you didn’t understand something you thought you did.
There’s so much about truth-seeking that’s not at all intellectual.