Intellectual humility can be defined as the knowledge or being aware of one's own intellectual limit. Though a person is full of knowledge, accepting the fact that there is still some room for more is termed as intellectual humility. The need of acceptance carries a lot of importance.
Being open to criticism, opposition and acceptance are the golden traits of being intellectually humble. An antonym to this concept is intellectual ignorance. One of the characteristics of human beings is where one boasts to know more than he actually does.
Many a times, a person lives in the world of myths, misconceptions, illusions and false beliefs. He tends to justify those 'facts' and boasts about them. Though he is less knowledgeable, he pretends to be not and imposes his beliefs on others.
Need of Intellectual Humility
Every person has a certain intellect that he uses at a time or the other. But, some people tend to boast about every little fact that they think is true. For example, a person may have some biased views regarding a particular religion or a caste. When such a person socializes with others, he may influence some people and thus create tension among them.
This kind of unrest may finally grow one day to create a strong rift between those two religions. The results may be even worse. Hence, if a person bears intellectual humility, his mind is open for criticism. If a person accepts that the fact he is boasting about, may or may not be true, he may prevent the later consequences.
Being intellectually humble doesn't necessarily mean that a person has to be submissive and simply nod his head to whatever others say. He can surely have his own say or opinion but in a very humble way while keeping some room for change and flexibility. In some countries, a ritual to kill in God's name still exists. Nobody knows who laid their foundation.
But, people still follow the same old rituals because they "believe" they are true and have a strong base. Without a doubt, such things create national and international unrest among the citizens. At times, holy wars break out.
Hence, if one learns to accept that he is not always right or there is something that he still doesn't know or the thing he knows may or may not be the complete truth, he can prevent this unrest or tension.
Many a time, if an observer has certain misconceptions or prejudices against a particular thing, he is sure to produce wrong results or arrive at the wrong conclusions and thus do, no justice to the issue or the deserving candidate. Thus, intellectual humility is needed to live a peaceful and a bias free life.
A Word to Remember
By birth, every individual has freedom of speech and thought. It must be used very wisely. Most of you may have a habit of regularly blaming the government for all the odds in your life or in the society. This is also a case of intellectual ignorance. Unless and until there is a strong proof or evidence that supports the fact, every fact is half true.
You must never fully believe what others tell you. Keep your mind flexible and open to acceptance as what you believe may not be the truth. Accept the fact that you can go wrong at times. Avoid such situations or else you may even form a wrong impression of a person and may ruin the good relationship that you share with him.
If you ever have a debate with someone, question your own attitude and beliefs once. If you find that there is little or no relevance or evidence that can support your say, stop yourself from boasting about it. People often have a strong belief in numerous superstitions which lands them in trouble at times. Hence, believe what is proved.
Every day, facts keep on changing. The simplest example would be that of the temperature. If the temperature is 20 degrees today, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will stay the same for the next two days or for the next moment as well. So, flexibility and acceptance is the key!
As a little exercise, try to think of the latest controversies you have heard. What do you think about it? Are you for it or against it? Do you agree with it? Do you believe in it? Decide after thinking on it. After you are done, find out what the real news was. Did it really match your opinion? Was the reality as same as what you thought it to be?
You will then have a clear insight to all the misconceptions you have had all this long. As they say, never judge a book by its cover, you should never impose your opinions upon others as they may not be worth the justification.
Do not be stubborn and keep your mind open for all the real knowledge that you can gather. A broad minded person is always loved by all as his mind has space to listen and accept his faults or any sort of opposition. Hence, avoid being over confident about things that you are not sure about. That may land you in trouble one day!
Lastly, you must remember that everything in this world is imperfect. It has its own pros and cons. If you support a fact, then, be sure that there are ten other people who will oppose the same. You feel you are right and they feel they are right! Thus, be humble, modest and flexible enough so that the world will be a more compassionate place to reside in!