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The Intellectual’s Flaw

In by Michael on July 19, 2010 at 12:38 am

What makes a person smart is his ability to see both sides of an issue. This special understanding is a fundamental attribute of a person who prepares for counterarguments, wants to make the best choice among a murky field of potential decisions, etc. Doing this tests and reaffirms his confidence in the decision he has made.

It is this very voice that becomes the fatal quality of an intellectual. For every strong conviction he has, he can understand the rationale and persuasive aspects of the complete opposite. Doubt is cast upon every idea and every plan.

Then again, maybe not.

  1. True. Every conclusion has a contradiction; every contradiction leads to more questions.

    Is it a flaw to not have strong convictions? Traditionally, an inspiring man is one who knows what he believes and stands up for it. But morally, aren’t we obligated to examine every side of an issue so that we don’t discount its complexity?

    Of course we have to make decisions, we have to take action. The contradictions don’t always completely counterbalance the original action.

    I guess we have to just keep asking questions no matter what. Once we stop asking questions, then we get stuck into actions that are illogical or amoral.

    I think…

    • True confidence can come from self-doubt. The same way that we trust a car salesman who tells us the downsides of a vehicle he wants to sell (“you know, it is a great deal, but you should know it probably won’t last more than 100 thousand miles), we can trust ourselves more when we know we’ve seen the downsides and flipsides of a position we take.

      A smart person’s confidence doesn’t come from assuredness that the first idea that popped into his head is awesome because he thought of it because it’s awesome – that’s what stupid people do. A smart person’s confidence comes from the assuredness that he’s investigated all downsides and flipsides.

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