Recently, the following quote from Danish physicist Niels Bohr was featured on our Twitter page:
“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
Abraham Pais, physicist and science historian, said “The first thing [Niels] Bohr said to me was that it would only then be profitable to work with him if I understood that he was a [dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge]. The only way I knew to react to this unexpected statement was with a polite smile of disbelief. But evidently Bohr was serious. He explained how he had to approach every new question from a starting point of total ignorance.”
Imagine if you could approach a conflict, challenge or disagreement “from a starting point of total ignorance”? How would you determine the ‘profound truth’? How would that ‘total ignorance’ work to your advantage and assist you in resolving your conflict? Oh the possibilities. You could consider so many options, so many ‘profound truths’. That is the benefit of having an unbiased, neutral mediator assist you with resolving conflicts. A good mediator comes from a position of ‘total ignorance’ about the conflict and can assist you with considering a variety of potential ‘profound truths’. When utilizing mediation, allow the mediator to do his or her job and support you in your exploration for a variety of potential answers and solutions. Often, you may think of ideas never before considered just based on a question or observation of the mediator. Remember, the mediator is NOT there to tell you the ‘profound truth’. The mediator is not there to tell you what to do, what to believe or how to solve the conflict but rather to support all the involved parties in considering a variety of potentially workable options.
It’s amazing how these quotes can work to make my mind consider a variety of aspects of my work.