Journal Entry 2:
Altercations, Bigger Debates and Intellectual Humility
I try to downplay my own grievances in regards to disagreements with others. Many a times when I wonder all that I find wrong with someone’s way of thinking and expressing themselves, I realise there’s a pattern with which I take an issue.
Apathy in face of aversion.
I find it rather frustrating to argue when the opposition wants to again and again make it clear that they just do not care about the issues that I am speaking about yet they won’t take an active stance in disengaging from the discourse and act accordingly with their I-don’t-care facade. The thing I appreciate is when people can actively differentiate between what they do and do not care about and act upon it. If I identify conviction(you are holding certain beliefs) but you appear as an empty void or a brick wall that just doesn’t budge but also wouldn’t give way for someone to pass through. It is an extreme unwillingness to change and blatant ignorance.
I have often encountered a genius mindset that I fail to understand. People often decide that just because a person has excelled in a certain area they would be smarter in all other fields of life as well. Anyone that is critical of them is just trying to bring them down due to insecurities and lack of personal development. We decide that whoever is more prosperous is more superior and as they are more superior, they are the authority on deciding what’s wrong and right for us. We don’t necessarily think much about whether that prosperity itself might be an illusion or what makes the other person happy might not make us similarly happy.
However conviction is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, I look at people that hold strong beliefs and are passionate to fight for them and I believe there is room for flexibility in every opinion we hold. On the other hand, I see people that seem flexible because of a clear lack of conviction but you can clearly see that they reason they are this way is because they haven’t really tried to take charge with how they feel and think and where they might be erroneous. Engaging with conversations with such individuals often leaves me with an empty stomach and questioning my own thought process.
But at the same time, I wonder if they are right. Their untainted ideas that they haven’t refined or tried to modify with the world might be more accurate with ones who find their validation in statistics and change rapidly with the course of time, make strong believes but are still willing to engage with opposing views. When I say right I am thinking more about the treating people right and not isolating them further due to the beliefs they hold.
In a recent study, people who were less polarizing towards other groups were found to have more intellectual humility which is being humble about what you know and knowing the limits of it(as Socrates suggested). However, intellectual humility can also be synonymous with, well, simply not knowing. More importantly, not caring enough to know. While many would state ignorance is not a vice I would beg to politely disagree. Intellectual humility is the spaces between what you do know and the humbleness comes from the awareness that there is no end to knowledge but there is a huge difference between those who desire to obtain and those who do not. The latter are not the authority on deciding rights and wrongs. While something can be learnt from everyone, people’s lack of care in terms of larger issues shouldn’t hold you down from trying to contribute in the world and they absolutely should not be making you wonder the validity of your own experiences and understanding.