In my previous blog entry I raised some concerns regarding how background assumptions subtly frame how we write about a wide range of topics. These default settings function as powerful blind spots in our thinking, limiting our ability to imagine new possibilities. You don’t need to be Einstein to overcome these default settings, but in this post I look at the process he used in order to help illuminate how to do this—and illustrate how using an editor as a thought partner can help as well.
One of the things I talked about when introducing myself on my homepage was how my reading habit helps me as an editor express the complex ideas of others more clearly. In this series of posts I try to illustrate that point and explain how immersing oneself in the thoughts of others makes you a better editor. I do that by examining a topic that will strike some readers as just plain odd to use for this purpose and others as too deeply controversial to be of much use at all, but one that (perhaps surprisingly) offers a useful blank slate for illustrating my point: eating meat.