Last night, on my way home from work, I was listening to a podcast like I usually do on my drive to and from work. I shuffle back and forth among a variety of podcasts with varying topics. Last night was the Bon Appetit Foodcast. Adam Rapoport was interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson. I immediately thought this was a strange guest to have on this podcast but whatever (for those that don't know, he's an astrophysicist).
So Adam gets into his usual introductions and starts asking Neil what he likes to cook and eat and I start to go into autopilot just driving through the back roads of Connecticut when I hear Adam ask Neil if he was "playing simple" when he interviewed Anthony Bourdain in 2013 by pretending he didn't know the answer to the basic cooking questions he was asking. Neil responded by saying he may know "an answer" but everyone has different life experiences and that he "values the knowledge of others".
This statement caught my attention. My mind was blown. Something so simple is so profound in our current world. How many people do you know that think this way? Do you think this way?
"Other than things you can count, every answer to every question...there is no absolute answer...there are only answers that we are all satisfied with."
In a world where people spend a good amount of time sitting behind their computer or on their phone arguing with people they don't even know or trying to prove their opinion is the right opinion, these words are profound.
My political beliefs over the past few years have become a compilation of both parties and I'm not even sure which side I stand on anymore. What has become the most important part of shaping my mind from adolescence to adulthood is listening. Listening without an agenda. Sometimes I don't even say my opinion at all. Most times my opinion isn't even necessary or relevant.
Because you will learn nothing by constantly trying to disprove or discount other people's life experiences.
Even if you completely disagree with what someone is saying, you can still get something out of listening to them.
Thanks, Neil. I needed that.