As I teach my son WéiQí, I am trying to teach him to develop a third-eye — a way to seeing (usually outside of the normal temptations of his mental habits). The third-eye allows him to understand these two important guides to the game:
- Do not follow your opponent: You don’t have to respond to each of your opponent’s moves. Look for and create opportunities where your moves demand attention (“SenTe“).
- Do not follow your own moves: Don’t get so absorbed in your own plan that you forget to realize that your opponent’s actions also demand responses and that the whole game may have changed requiring new plans by everyone.
So if you are not following your moves/plan, or your opponent’s moves, what are you following? The game! To learn this skill the player must learn to not be hypnotized by the momentum of their own mind nor the momentum of the opponent’s mind.
Likewise in conversation: The generic ‘listener’ nods, and pretends to listen while merely waiting to get in their story. While the sentimental listener listens so intently that they are undiscerning and lost in the speakers story. In medicine, we emphasize the need to listen to the patient. This is important, but it is equally important to not be swallowed by the patient’s own logic and story but to see behind it. So, like WéiQí, you should not be blindly following the patient’s self-deception (their moves), nor should you ignore important signals that your patient shares that contradict your suspected diagnosis (your plan). Following your own mind or following the mind of your patient may stop you from making the correct diagnosis. See this Eisenhower’s quote on planning.
In WéiQí, conversation and medicine, developing this third-eye is extremely helpful.