Header Ads

Breaking News

How to turn down heat on social media, partisan rhetoric

The most important thing you learn in life is how little you really know for certain.

Once you learn that — once you embrace, like Socrates, the fundamental fact of your own ignorance — the world becomes a more exciting place, chock-full of possibility. Every person you encounter has the potential to offer insight you do not possess: He has experience I don’t have. She might change my mind about something.

Intellectual humility is more than a personal virtue. It is essential to a functioning free society. It’s what empowers people with different experiences and beliefs to value one another, engage in civil discourse, and learn from each other.

The irony is that with each wave of new learning, humanity is tempted into thinking that we have all the answers. This is as true today as it was in Socrates’ day, as it was in the afterglow of the Age of Reason, and the technological and economic progress born of the Industrial Revolution.

With each new era, we seem to forget the fundamental lesson of intellectual humility. Left unchallenged, our sense of certainty gets us into all manner of mischief, from Holy Inquisitions to centralized economic plans.

Let’s foster good faith discourse — in universities and beyond — in which the goal is not to win a debate or produce viral content, but to have authentic, learning conversations that leave all participants wiser for having engaged.

Today, generations of adults are, once again, interacting with each other without any sense that they may have something to learn. We are certain that our ideas are the right ideas. Full Stop. Further scrutiny, further refinement would be a waste of time.

In his book “Hate Inc: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another,” Matt Taibbi explains how the media helped destroy our capacity for humility. “Your media experience is designed to nurture and protect your ego,” Taibbi writes. The rules are simple: “Accept a binary world and pick a side. . . . Feel indignant, righteous, and smart. Hate losers, love winners. Don’t challenge yourself.”

Source link

No comments