Steven Pinker and Yo-Yo Ma both touch upon the points of how science plays a major role in our society, but the solutions we need to take in order to fully understand what’s going on around us. I believe that we must educate ourselves in different ways other than solely based off of scientific facts to better understand ourselves through the eyes of others. Pinker addresses this issue by writing, “To understand the world, we must cultivate work-arounds for our cognitive limitations, including skepticism, open debate, formal precision, and empirical tests, often requiring feats of ingenuity.” This means we need to educate our mindsets to work around the limits we have on perceptions by adapting new outlooks. Pinker notes that this process of opening our minds through the eyes of other requires a high amount of effort, but can be achieved through something as simple as a debate or a test. Ma has a simpler approach of expanding our minds by saying, “To be able to put oneself in another’s shoes without prejudgement is an essential skill.” He goes on to elaborate on this by noting how the usage of art can give you a visual perception on how someone else’s life may be going. If we can simply try our best to see through the eyes of others, that will give us a far stronger outlook on our own lives rather than simply trying to depict that through science. Although Pinker doesn’t go into as much detail on the ideas of art and science coinciding, both him and Ma can agree that we cannot simply use our own judgement and knowledge to generate and perceive information from the field of science around us. We must be able to educate alternatives for our limitations by putting ourselves in the shoes of others.
One part I immediately picked up from Steven Pinker’s essay that I could relate to was the idea of having the capability to simplify information that can be difficult to understand. An example of this is being in college and going into the medical field, I know there are going to be plenty of rigorous classes along the way, many of which taught by professors who’ve been through years of schooling, some even with their Doctorate. My hope is that when I’m being taught a difficult subject or idea, that the Professor has the capability to convey the topic in a simpler fashion than they know. Pinker touches upon this topic when discussing scientists and their vast knowledge of the world when he says, “When reading these thinkers, I often long to travel back in time and offer them some bit of twenty-first-century freshman science that would fill a gap in their arguments or guide them around a stumbling block.” He’s essentially stating that he wishes these brilliant scientists could be able to simplify their understandings on a topic to something he’s already learned rather than completely new complicated information being thrown at him that makes no sense. Going back to the last paragraph comparing Pinker and Ma’s thoughts, these scientists and Doctors need to learn how to put themselves in the shoes of those they’re teaching. Unfortunately, many of them are so bright, that they cannot seem to teach the topic on a smaller more simple scale. It takes years of hard work and talent to be able to get to where these professionals are but along the way, it seems as though they’re never taught how to convey the message back to those in a younger generation that obviously don’t contain the knowledge on that subject that they do.