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A fish can’t see the water

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The Chinese proverb puts it that a fish can’t see the water it is in, unless it jumps out of its fish bowl. Along the same lines, author David Foster Wallace, tells the story of two young fish swimming along when they meet an older fish coming in the other direction. He nods at them and says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a while and then one looks over at the other and says, “What the hell is water?”

We are often so immersed in our own lives, our own environments that we fail to recognise how limited and limiting they may be. We don’t appreciate how much we may learn from others, from opening ourselves to the world around us. It is a condition that is exacerbated by our social media lives and the echo chambers of our subjective tastes and experiences. It can, of course, become a kind of egotism and narcissism. In its most extreme form, it can be a pathological condition called solipsism syndrome, characterised by a detachment from reality.

Leaders in particular need to be acutely aware of the dangers of solipsism. But we can all benefit from the presence of honest critics and frank friends.

The beautiful phrase eizer kenegdo in Genesis (2;18) highlights the advantage of having an honest partner. The........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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