Shining light on the situation

Hanukkah, the 8-day festival of lights, began last night.

I find it interesting that so many different cultures and religions have holidays at this time of year with celebrations that include candles and light.

For ancient civilizations, some of these traditions must have been a kind of response to shorter days and longer nights as we approach the winter solstice.

Shining light is a way to bring comfort, making it easier to see more of what is around us. Intellectually, I think it is better to be provided with a broader range of perspectives to help inform decision-making.

Alexandra Posadzki had an interview with Melinda Rogers-Hixon in last weekend’s Globe and Mail that opened with:

Ted Rogers, the founder of Rogers Communications Inc., used to encourage his children to debate issues related to the family business over dinner.

But there was a twist: Partway through, both parties would have to switch sides and argue the opposite position. The exercise was intended to teach them how to understand the other person’s perspective, as well as to challenge their own assumptions, he explained.

Playing devil’s advocate; doing a ‘red team’ analysis to anticipate how a competitor might respond. I sometimes wonder if there is enough of this going on these days.

I wonder if polarized opinions are perhaps catalyzed by news agents on social media that deliver stories that align with and reinforce our current perspectives, rather than challenging our own assumptions.

I subscribe to a newspaper that aggravates the hell out of me, precisely to help me appreciate perspectives that I wouldn’t otherwise understand.

As we head into this season of festivals of light, I hope more people will consider Ted’s way of illuminating issues.

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