From the time of our birth until we die, all of us learn to understand the world from our point of view. After our birth we imprint our experiences on our brains which act as template to see further changes in the environment.This leads to awareness of self as a separate entity and also we learn to influence the world around us by our actions.This understanding of self as separate entity,self awareness and will to exert ourselves is a life long process of experimentation and learning.
However we are social beings and our survival and well being depends on our relationships in our society.We have to learn to think about other people’s needs as well as we need to understand from others view points.
The concept of decentering originated with Piaget, who defined decentering as a feature of operational thought, the ability to conceptualize multiple perspectives simultaneously. Feffer applied Piaget’s concept of decentering to the cognitive maturity of social content.
Various techniques are available for people including children to learn to look from various view points and perspectives.
Edward de Bono in his book ‘6 Thinking Hats has described the technique of
looking at a Decision From All Points of View
Six distinct directions are identified and assigned a color. The six directions are:
- Managing Blue – what is the subject? what are we thinking about? what is the goal?
- Information White – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
- Emotions Red – intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
- Discernment Black – logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative
- Optimistic response Yellow – logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
- Creativity Green – statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
A variant of this technique is to look at problems from the point of view of different professionals (e.g. doctors, architects, sales directors, etc.) or different customers.
Donald Klein in his workshop teaches people to understand how other person feel depending on your answer by playing 3 types of games 1]Yes game 2] Yes But 3] No in a group.
Charlie Munger says that “developing the habit of mastering the multiple models which underlie reality is the best thing you can do.”
Those models are mental models.
They fall into two categories: (1) ones that help us simulate time (and predict the future) and better understand how the world works (e.g. understanding a useful idea from like autocatalysis), and (2) ones that help us better understand how our mental processes lead us astray (e.g., availability bias).
When our mental models line up with reality they help us avoid problems. However, they also cause problems when they don’t line up with reality as we think something that isn’t true.
Make it a life long habit to view things from others perspective to make this world a better place.
In Martin Amis’s 1995 novel, “The Information,” we meet a character who aspires to write “The History of Increasing Humiliation,” a treatise chronicling the gradual dethronement of humankind from its position at the center of the universe, beginning with Copernicus. “Every century we get smaller,” Amis writes. Next came Darwin, who brought the humbling news that we are the product of the same natural laws that created animals. In the last century, the formerly sharp lines separating humans from animals—our monopolies on language, reason, toolmaking, culture, even self-consciousness—have been blurred, one after another, as science has granted these capabilities to other animals.