Monday, May 16, 2016

Michael Josephson: Intellectual humility and the pursuit of wisdom

  This is a reminder of the need to be as rigorously honest, informed and objective about our own ideas as we are when we evaluate those of others.

  Wisdom requires courage and humility to receive and consider new facts, opinions and perspectives, even when they challenge long and deeply held beliefs.

  People who have no core beliefs or surrender them to every stiff breeze have neither honor nor integrity. We must have and be faithful to our principles. We must be willing to advocate for core beliefs.

  On the other hand, we must remember that all our beliefs are essentially opinions as to what is true, and the the intensity of our convictions does not increase the likelihood that we are right. Sincerity is a demonstration of honesty, not objective truth.

  It is important to stay aware of the thin line between passionate self-confidence and self-righteousness. Self-righteousness prevents intellectual and emotional growth.

  Integrity requires much more than reflexive and adamant defense of previously formed beliefs. Integrity requires ongoing reflection placing a higher value on wisdom than “being right.”

  About the author: Michael Josephson is one of the nation’s most sought-after and quoted ethicists. Founder and president of Josephson Institute and its CHARACTER COUNTS! project, he has conducted programs for more than 100,000 leaders in government, business, education, sports, law enforcement, journalism, law, and the military. Mr. Josephson is also an award-winning radio commentator.

  This article was published by the Josephson Institute.

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