07 Marzo 2017 16:07
'When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err on the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.'
In other words, Pascal suggests that we disarm the other person by recognising and validating something of what they say in order to then complement their thoughts with our own point of view – even though this may be radically opposed. Arthur Markman, professor of psychology from the University of Texas, puts it this way: 'If I immediately start to tell you all the ways in which you're wrong, there's no incentive for you to co-operate.'
'But,' he continues, 'if I start by saying "Ah yeah, you made a couple of really good points here, I think these are important issues," now you're giving the other party a reason to want to cooperate as part of the exchange. And that gives you a chance to give voice to your own concerns about their position in a way that allows cooperation.'