How the Master Guessed Who Was Right

Two students were discussing some worldly facts. They could not agree on who of them was right. They asked the master for help. The master addressed the first student: “Tell me about the problem!”

The first student explained how he understood the matter. Then he outlined the other student’s position.

“Thank you,” the master said. He turned to the second student: "Now you tell me what the problem is about.”

The second student described how the other understood the matter at hand, then he described his own position.

The master laughed: “So you both agree?”

“We don’t agree!” said the student, “that is why we ask you for help.”

“Well, I believe you agree,” said the master. “When it comes to the facts alone, I am clueless as a bird who just hatched from its egg. But if I had to make a judgement,” he said, pointing at the second student, “I would guess that you are right.”

“Why?” asked both students.

“We shall see,” said the master.

Later that day the students met a scientist who could answer their question with all scientific authority.

It turned out that the second student was right, just as the master had guessed.

In the evening, the students met the master again.

“How did you know,” asked the first student, “that he was right?”

Life teaches us that most of our truths will eventually need correction.

The master answered: “I didn’t know. I guessed it, as I saw each of you present his argument. You first presented your view, then his. You treated his view as a correction of yours. He on the other hand presented your view first, and only after that he presented his own view. He too treated his view as a correction. Thus, you agreed. Life teaches us that most of our truths will eventually need correction. You both are smart people. I was betting on the correction to be meaningful, whoever it was that corrected.”