One of the most interesting lessons I learned from Vic, and then during my time on the Spec-List, is how one can learn from people. Something that has been a particular surprise has been that we can often learn most from those whose values and ideas about things are most different to our own. The process of learning deeply from someone is an interesting one; it involves the withdrawal of one's own ego and a cessation of posturing to just listen and 'channel their thoughts'.

In my early days on the list I found 'Mr. E' quite fascinating. He seemed to go out of his way to offend people but at the same time was challenging their preconceptions. Our 'discussions' (for want of a better term) led to me channeling him on certain matters and causing widespread offense among left leaning associates. But thanks to E I developed a healthy skepticism about many commonly held views. And I remember him with affection and respect.

There have been other occasions where people were less thick skinned than E, without my realising or epecting it. I think I offended Larry Williams one time with an ill considered remark, and I'm not sure he knew I had read a number of his books and was trying to understand him. I hope he has forgiven me and will understand that I don't take an interest in just anybody.

Outside the list this learning attitude has also proven to be invaluable. I have become a much better chess teacher through an approach of 'deep listening' and learned tai chi by finding an outstanding practitioner and going through a similar process. I don't think he liked me at first and was unsure about whether to even take me as a student. But now, some ten years on, we are like family.


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