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Honesty is hot ! October 8, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation, life, rant.

As days go by, the people we admire change. Ooops, that previous sentence has 2 meanings and I intended the non-obvious one. I actually meant to say we admire different qualities in people as we grow and not that people who we once admired grow or change as individuals ! Maybe I should have said something like – “As days go by, the kinds of people we admire, change.”

Some digression that ! Sorry.

Okay, so over the years, a new attribute has been rising steadily through the ranks and might quickly emerge in the top 3 qualities I admire in people. Intellectual honesty. I am talking in a broader sense than than the narrow sense of plagiarism rather something like this

We inherently generalize, categorize, prioritize, and harmonize what we see, and most of this takes place without our conscious awareness. While these aspects of thinking are of inestimable value, they also possess certain dangers; for example, they can inadvertently lead us into hasty judgments, and cause selective “blindness” toward new information. Perhaps the two most universal informal fallacies in thinking are generalizing from incomplete information and overlooking alternative explanations.

One of the reasons I feel this way is perhaps because atleast in my perception, I find very few such instances of demonstrated intellectual honesty. This is probably because its actually a sparsely valued and therefore rarely observable attribute. Or because I am generalizing from incomplete information and overlooking alternative explanations for why I have such a perception.

And to that most admired list, I would add intellectual breadth as well although its not that high up there yet. Lack of intellectual breadth, something I am myself working to fight in myself, could be related to disadvantages in upbringing ( no, thats not my excuse ) or a late realization of its value ( yeah, thats mine ). It takes time and is more quantitative in nature than intellectual honesty.



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