We all wear glasses – the glasses of our conditioning, or our brain software, if you like, that we use to interpret and see and perceive our circumstances, opportunities, and threats. We see through the eyes of our values, our religion, our IQ, our programming, our past experiences, our knowledge, and all that we have read and learnt so far.

Imagine, if you will, a person who has no idea of history or human behaviour trying to gauge the outcome of his circumstances in order to make a good decision. Or the chances someone who has consumed good books about history, religion, philosophy, politics, and science making a good decision compared with one who never reads books and spends his life watching reality TV shows and sport.

What do you think of the prospects of someone who has spent 45 years travelling and living in Africa making reasonable decisions and good choices regarding his understanding of modern-day sub-Saharan Africa, with its average IQ of 77 and history, as opposed to someone who has been  raised on liberal thinking and fed cultural Marxism by his leftist university professors?

How much do you think policemen in Detroit, South Chicago, and Chesterfield Square, LA, understand about the probable future choices of the members of a violent group like “Black Lives Matter”? Or the way someone who has been raised in a step family understands the dynamics in a step family compared with a social worker from a nuclear family steeped in book learning? Or an ex con’s understanding of recidivism compared to that of a university student?

Where is all this leading? You may ask. Well, what I have learnt is that it is often necessary for intelligent people to borrow the lenses of others when necessary. If I wish to make a decision about how to understand Russians, for example, I ask a Jewish English author whom I respect immensely, and who lived in Moscow for fifteen years, what his opinion is. In fact, I asked him the following question:

” I would love to hear your evaluation of the average Russian compared to the average Englishman.”

This was his answer: ” I have a working theory that every nation has a pseudo foundational myth and a real one – i.e. the core concept which the nation thinks keeps it together, and then the one which actually does. The Jews, for example, claim that the Torah is the foundation of their nation; the thing which unites them. This is clearly not true. What unites Jews is their shared belief that non-Jews hate them.

The Russians, for their part, like to think that at the core of their nation is the Orthodox Church combined with the great literature of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and the poetry of Pushkin. This is, likewise, nonsense. What actually unites all Russians is something else: it is the core belief that government – any government – is out to screw them over; and that suffering – especially of a completely unnecessary and spectacular type – is fundamentally beneficial for the soul. These two essential beliefs underpin the Russian psyche.

The English like to think they are superior by virtue of being English, but are actually conditioned by their Pavlovian training to have a terror of being anything other than normal; this is supplemented by an irrational fascination with backing the underdog, and a compulsion to denigrate achievement in any form.”

A fascinating observation and perspective, whether one chooses to agree or not, isn’t it? Talk to someone who knows what they are talking about, who has, in fact, proof of the pleasant consequences of the choices they have made by virtue of their understanding, and whose intelligence and values you respect. We can’t all know everything, we can’t all have experienced everything, but we can learn from others. That’s what smart, humble people do.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com