The Nuanced Thinker


Figure kneeling in prayer, 1856, by Francois-Barthelemy-Marius Abel (1832-1870).


The Nuanced Thinker

What makes someone a nuanced thinker, someone who can really tease the torn from the tied and the wheat from the chaff?

First and foremost, the nuanced thinker is one who knows that it is he who is coming to the table, and not an “objective” observer. He may not be able to see all or any of his biases, but he intuits that they are there. In doing so, he takes a step back from certainty.

The nuanced thinker is one who is able to see through the eyes of every perspective and honor “the” point. No matter how small or confused it may be, he knows that everyone indeed has a point and it is in their dissary where a peak of the unmet need shines through. In doing so, he takes a step toward compassion.

The nuanced thinker is one who seeks to find the trace of self deception in himself before the he does so in others. While some cry out about how devilish or dismayed the “other” is, the nuanced thinker is more concerned with the fact that he may be just as illusioned. In doing so he takes yet another step away from certainty.

The nuanced thinker is one who is able to hold two opposing and seemingly paradoxical ideas at the same time, and again recognize the point that each of them has. He mediates the bordering clash between the two in such a way where he hears their fundamental needs and holds them up so that both may see that they, in fact, want the same end but through different means. In doing so he takes yet another step towards compassion.

Though this thinker is not in the game to be right, he knows that in reality, he is both for the truth and for his shadow which desires prestige. In so far as he can acknowledge it, he comes to mitigate those forces so that the liar in him can speak truth to the liar in us all.

Our thinker, this dedicated thinker, is ultimately the one who stands in the middle of all positions and kneels, for he knows that he cannot be absolutely certain. This is what keeps him from casting stones while all others sling; it is his humility that lets him hear others for the very first and last time.

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