'There is an old joke about an engineer, a priest, and a doctor enjoying a round of golf. Ahead of them is a group playing so slowly and inexpertly that in frustration the three ask the greenkeeper for an explanation. “That’s a group of blind firefighters,” they are told. “They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free.”
The priest says, “I will say a prayer for them tonight.”
The doctor says, “Let me ask my ophthalmologist colleagues if anything can be done for them.”
And the engineer says, “Why can’t they play at night?”'
'You and I would feel safer in a car that met the 301 standard. But the engineer, whose aim is to maximize safety within a series of material constraints, cannot be distracted by how you and I feel. If you are busy empathizing with blind firefighters—if your goal is to treat them with the same consideration you would sighted golfers—how do you get them to consider that everyone might be better off if they played at night? The grievance at the heart of that joke is that we wrongly think of the engineers’ attitude as callous, when to their mind, in their focus on identifying the real problem, they are the opposite of callous.'