I can’t remember who first introduced me to the circle of all knowledge? I only know how much this little circle has helped me in places where I have been tempted to convert others by means of concussion along the way.
The illustration goes like this: You draw a circle and then tell the person you are speaking with that all of the space inside the circle represents all of the knowledge that exists in the universe. And then you ask them: “Of that knowledge, how much do you possess?”
If they are extremely arrogant they will draw a small circle. But most of the people I have ever met simply make a small point in the circle with their pen or pencil. From that point on humble dialogue becomes possible because each person is squarely confronted with the fact that there is far more that they don’t know than that they do.
We live in a time where we are in desperate need of learning how to peacefully and respectfully disagree with one another without polarizing or demonizing those who hold to different opinions or convictions than we do.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter how controversial the topic may be. We should be able to talk about anything with one another without feeling like we need agree or convince the other person to join our team. Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Muslims, even Red Sox and Yankee fans can do this, so long as we remain humble and stay open to the possibility that we actually could be wrong in what it is that we feel so right about.
I know that its a stretch for some of us but the next time you feel like you possess all knowledge just remember the circle and how much there is still left for you to learn because contrary to popular opinion, opposing beliefs are not our enemy. Indeed, they are quite possibly the raw material for our continuing to grow and experience transformation in our lives. I know that once we have our minds made up that we don’t typically like to change them, but if we can learn to maintain a posture of openness and humility then all of us will become a little more human. And that, I believe, would be a win for us all…no matter what we believe.