Once there were two boys who were great friends, and they were determined to remain that way forever. When they grew up and got married, they built their houses facing each other. There was a small path that formed a border between their farms.
One day, a trickster from the village decided to play a trick on them. He dressed himself in a two-color coat that was divided down the middle. One side of the coat was red, the other side blue.
Wearing this coat, the trickster walked along the rrow path between the houses of the two friends. They were each working opposite each other in their fields. The trickster made enough noise as he passed them to make sure that each of them would look up and see him passing.
At the end of the day, one friend said to the other, “Wasn’t that a beautiful red coat that man was wearing today?”
“No”, the other replied. “It was a blue coat.”
“I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!” said the first, “His coat was red.”
“You are wrong!” said the other, “I saw it too, and it was blue.”
“I know what I saw!” insisted the first, “The coat was red!”
“You don’t know anything,” the second replied angrily. “It was blue!”
They kept arguing about this over and over, insulted each other, and eventually, they came to blows.
Just then, the trickster returned and faced the two men, who were punching and kicking each other and shouting, “Our friendship is over!”
Laughing heartily, the trickster walked directly in front of them. The two friends saw his coat was red on one side and blue on the other.
Deeply embarrassed, they stopped fighting and now screamed at the trickster: “We have lived side by side like brothers all our lives, and it is all your fault that we are now fighting. You have started a war between us.”
“Don’t blame me for the battle,” replied the trickster. “I did not make you fight. Both of you are wrong, and both of you are right. Yes, what each one saw was true. You are fighting because you only looked at my coat from your own point of view.”
The wise are therefore careful about forming a belief, and avoid it if they can. They know that most beliefs are formed when people are stressed out and find it difficult to make sense of things.
A belief seems a comfortable thing to have, because new information is then filtered only in terms of whether or not it confirms that belief.
This may look like a good device to reduce confusion. But a belief interferes in correctly judging a developing situation. It colours proper assessment of the future. The result is wrong decision making.
The wise know that if they expect things to turn out in a particular way, they will see only that evidence which confirms their expectation. All evidences to the contrary will not register in their minds.
So the wise stay neutral, and avoid this trap. They are open to see what is really happening rather than merely seeing what they want to happen.
The more people are aware of the tricks their minds can play, the better they can work around such limitations. This gives them the mental edge to win.