On understanding

From another Dave:

If you asked my father what Dave’s favorite music is, he would have told you what his favorite music is, and (importantly) he’d think he’s answering the question. If you ask someone why Dave works so hard, he’ll tell you what he aspires to. He might say Dave does it to get rich. That wouldn’t tell you anything about Dave, but it likely tells you something about him. This is important to understanding disputes, and is why listening is so important. For example, the US thought North Vietnam was fighting because they were part of a global communist alliance to defeat the west. The Domino Theory. Because we were at war against that. The Vietnamese were actually fighting a war of independence, and were puzzled why the US, a former colony that fought for its independence, was fighting them. Moral of the story: Unless you ask, you probably don’t know why someone is doing what they do. 

Dave Winer (Oct 11, 2018)

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