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The Importance of Humility?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quintessence, May 24, 2019.

  1. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    If we want some insight into contemporary political turmoil, examining the concept of humility might just be relevant.

    "In a nutshell, intellectual humility reflects the extent to which someone is willing to at least entertain the possibility that he or she might be wrong about something. People who score high in intellectual humility tend to be more open to experience and more agreeable.

    ... Duke University psychologist Mark Leary quickly recognized the potential relevance of this trait to a wide range of political and social issues and ended up conducting a series of influential studies to explore how the trait predicts our reactions to people and ideas that we disagree with.

    Leary found that individuals who score on the high end of intellectual humility process information differently from those who score on the low end. For example, they’re more tolerant of ambiguity and they realize that not every problem has a single, definitive answer or outcome. When they hear a claim, they are more likely to seek out evidence and prefer two-sided, balanced arguments.

    ... most people do not score high on intellectual humility."
    From - Could a lack of humility be at the root of what ails America?

    Would you consider intellectual humility to be a desirable characteristic? Why or why not? If it is a desirable characteristic, how might it be cultivated? If it isn't, how might it be weeded out?
     
  2. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    I think I have the highest score in the whole Universe when it comes to humility.

    Ciao

    - viol
     
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  3. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you and Mark Leary that "intellectual humility" is a desirable trait. However, if you intend to persuade more people, I'd suggest dumping the phrase "intellectual humility." Leary hasn't made a new discovery in psychology worthy of a highfalutin label.

    Arrogance (narcissism) causes a wide variety of human failings. Being close-minded and opinionated is just one of a dazzling array.
     
  4. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Intellectual humility consists in the dignity one has and gets by saying "I was wrong".

    We often misjudge someone or something...it's human.
     
  5. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Das weiss ich und aus diesem Grund bist du eine wunderschoene Person. :)
     
  6. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Humility seems to be present in those with empathy, and both attributes can lead to more contented, accomplished and fulfilled lives, I reckon.

    I'm not sure whether humility needs to be classified especially as 'intellectual' since humility is all about a frame of mind......... no particular level of intellect required.
     
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  7. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    At least you left out the 'intellectual' bit. :p
     
  8. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Wonderful words said by a wonderful person:)
     
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  9. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Thankyou.
    Kind words indeed. :)
     
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  10. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I questioned this too, and it turns out the phrase has a technical meaning within the context of social sciences. They specifically mean humility in regard to ideologically-held positions. It doesn't mean a certain level of "intellect" is required, it means the studies aren't talking about, say, humility with regard to personal accomplishments for example. From the study linked to in the quote of the OP:


    "To be useful as a psychological construct, intellectual humility must be distinguished from other reasons that people are and are not open to the possibility that their beliefs and attitudes might be wrong. Intellectual humility is related to, but conceptually and empirically distinct from, other constructs that involve a general tendency to be unjustifiably certain of one’s beliefs, such as dogmatism, belief superiority, and low openness."
    From - SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class research journals

    They go into each of those in detail, but it is a bit too long to quote in full, but it is worth mentioning that they don't mean these other things when they talk about the concept of intellectual humility.
     
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  11. charlie sc

    charlie sc Well-Known Member

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    What an interesting study. I only looked at the abstract, but I noticed they mentioned religion. I'll add that to my repertoire. Thanks!
     
  12. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I think in many cases there is no right or wrong answer. Just an effort to enforce a moral ideal.

    Experts, folks who are supposed to know things need a bit of intellectual humility. These are the people we look to for accurate answers. They have to be self correcting.

    Leadership however needs to be strongly persuasive in order to get others behind an idea. people are more likely to follow those that can give a perception decisiveness. There maybe a number of different ways to reach a goal. Someone has to decide on a course of action. Doing something is better than doing nothing, even if it is the wrong thing to do. From our actions we learn, from inaction there is no change, no progress.

    So we kind of need both, those with intellectual humility and those willing to make a decision to move the herd along.
     
  13. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    This is a very important point. What makes a good leader? I wonder if those who have higher/lower intellectual humility would disagree on these points. This part of the article seems relevant to that:


    "Furthermore, many voters seem to prefer leaders who are confident, decisive – and who do not change their positions on issues – the very qualities that can readily be found in those who lack intellectual humility.

    In fact, studies have found that Republicans – but not Democrats – who are low in intellectual humility report being much less likely to vote for a politician who has changed his or her stand on an issue over time. So, woe be to the Republican office seeker who has changed a position on an issue in light of new evidence, as the dreaded label of “flip-flopper” is all but certain to be applied."
    From - Could a lack of humility be at the root of what ails America?
     
  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I consider it very desirable. As the psychologist indicated, it means a more open mind. It furthers possibilities, opens up opportunities for the individual.
     
  15. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    I expect that most people, if asked, would consider intellectual humility desirable. I'm certainly no exception there.

    However, this doesn't necessarily reflect what people actually look for in others, particularly politicians. There are a couple of statements that regularly crop up in political discourse that seem to run counter to a desire for intellectual humility:

    "He/she says it like it is." There's this idea that straight talk means voicing and standing by an opinion regardless of criticism, contrary information or basic decorum. To be brash and inflexible is seen as more honest than taking a more considered approach. It's practically career suicide for a politician to say, "I don't know" whereas saying something to the effect of, "I'm the only one who knows what they're doing" will be divisive but generally also quite effective..

    "It's common sense." When you say something is common sense, you're saying that it's self-evident. If something is self-evident then any contrary opinions and information must be incorrect. Furthermore it suggests that simplicity is inherently good and that nuance is therefore bad. After all, if the criticism of a common sense argument is complex, it mustn't be common sense.


    So the desirability of intellectual humility is suspect, at least when dealing with populations as opposed to individuals. I personally would prefer it to be more desirable and would hope to cultivate it. I would say though that the political world is a poor starting point for this and would suggest education is the place to look. We live in an age where access to information is quick, easy and abundant but the school system doesn't seem to have entirely caught up.* Rather than present a series of facts for pupils to memorise, teach them how to interpret what they're reading and seeing. Explain how and why a photograph doesn't necessarily reflect truth or that the most relevant information in a newspaper is found in the corrections. Show people that a problem can be seen in multiple ways, that you can always look for more information and that sometimes the best answer really is, "I don't know."


    *In my own country anyway.
     
  16. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity What Does the Fox Say?
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    The concept of intellectual humility gets confused with other things.

    People naturally gravitate towards trusting authority, and its difficult getting them to trust themselves, their neighbors and methods of inquiry. Intellectual humility also takes time and effort, often in the face of opposition and can be confused with political maneuvering or disloyalty!

    Several political approaches have already been taken towards managing this flaw. None so far have succeeded 100%.

    The solution? Chaos! Every now and then everything has to get turned upside down. Usually this happens naturally, but it might be possible to manage it better. Instead of chaos stimulated by massive deaths, poverty and other extreme unctions, maybe we could stimulate it by putting random chance into policy decisions.
     
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  17. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    What makes a good leader? The ability, at least behind the scenes, to listen to experts. However most important, the ability to make a decision. I couldn't really access the study but it seems these days both Republican and Democrats are putting forth strong minded politicians. Very little willingness on either side to compromise.

    No willingness to work across the aisle, no willingness to compromise, I guess that is where we are.
     
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  18. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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  19. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member

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    Intellectual humility is an absolutely necessary trait in individuals that live in a pluralistic society, that fosters acceptance of differences over cultural mores. This sense of humility has to be cultivated from birth, I think, by figures who understand the importance of critical thinking and analyses.

    This does not mean that one ignores or does not partake in traditions of the past, only that it is up to each individual to determine their own meaning from those traditions.
     
  20. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    Could be a lack of humility.

    Or an abundance of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance.

    Nothing we can do to stop people from doing it. But we can call it out when we see it shine a spotlight on it, and eventually people who would normally be ignorant of it will be able to recognize it, and then ignore it. That is when it "goes away".
     
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