For the mature scholar and critic of literature, understanding the world in which a piece of literature was written, and not imposing modern prejudices and assumptions upon it, was the starting point for reading any work.Becoming C.S. Lewis p. 219
It’s not just the starting point of reading a work of literature, but in reading our fellow man. One must, as Harper Lee tell us, walk in another shoes. We are quick to assume, to judge, to apply our experience to someone else—our successes, mind you, not our failures—and wonder why they do what they do. That doesn’t mean the other is always right and we’re wrong, but we can hardly form a full judgment without first getting to know them.