The Importance of Being Intellectually Honest
Years ago, being intellectual, going to school, learning and striving to learn more were big things. I remember the National Defense Student Loan to help people go to college…then it became the National Direct Student Loan. These programs were to encourage people to aspire to greater learning in science and math. Learning how to be objective and looking at things realistically was very important when I was coming up.
Today, I feel like higher-ups actually are discouraging greater learning, discouraging intellectual thinking and discouraging analyzing situations. Today people can not discuss politics, movie stars, music stars, and basically anything without it erupting into nasty name calling and fighting or putting others down. And I keep asking why is this? I look at the news and then down at the comments on the articles and it is so sad to see the type of comments posted there. People demeaning others because they dared to state the truth or state a different opinion.
image from sooner28.hubpages.com
Intellectual honesty is an applied method of problem solving in academia, characterized by an unbiased, honest attitude, which can be demonstrated in a number of different ways, including but not limited to:
- One’s personal beliefs do not interfere with the pursuit of truth;
- Relevant facts and information are not purposefully omitted even when such things may contradict one’s hypothesis:
- Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions or to support one view over another;
- References, or earlier work, are acknowledged where possible, and plagiarism is avoided.
Being intellectually honest means that you can look at and analyze a situation and see all sides of it. Notice above it says that a person being intellectually honest does not omit facts just because they contradict with what they think, they do not twist things to mislead and they do not let their own beliefs interfere with the quest for the truth.
I will use a fairly generic situation analysis. When Carrie Underwood did The Sound of Music on television, people who really liked her could not stand one negative thing to be said about her. Now, yes there were some haters, but I am not talking them. When someone said that Carrie needed some acting lessons, that she was a fantastic singer and performer but lacking in acting skills, you would not believe the attacking by the “fans” who refused to let anyone say anything other than “Oh, she was wonderful”.
If those people had been intellectually honest, they could have seen that saying Carrie needed some help in the acting department even though she is a fantastic singer and performer, was a valid criticism. It was her first time acting, of course she was not polished. Just because she did not have enough acting experience did not make her bad. But people today for the most part are not intellectually honest. It is all or nothing. And the sad thing is that this could have been a learning experience for Underwood in that it might have led her to get acting lessons and go on to become a great actress.
Look at politics. Instead of objectively looking at each person in office, it is all or nothing. There is no in between. It is Party first all the way with so many people and that is how we get some people in office that should not be. I do not and have not for a few years voted by party. I vote by the individual person and with much researching. I do not listen to the media hype. I research and find my own answers of their skills and abilities. But, just like in the case with Carrie, even if a candidate or elected official does the same things that the candidates predecessor did that made everyone angry, the people excuse their candidate because it is “party all the way”. If they are in a person’s party, then nothing they do is wrong. If we were being intellectually honest, we would be able to say “Well, I like this candidate but I do not like that he/she is doing this or that. It is wrong” and not feel like we are betraying our own beliefs.
Most people today can not look objectively and instead, they vote simply because it is “their party”and so people get voted in simply because they are in one party or the other and not because they are worthy of the position. And, rules and regulations get voted in that are detrimental to our country because it is “party all the way” and people agree just because their party said so. A good example is the privacy issues going on. People who refuse to see anything bad say “Oh, it is ok, I am not worried. They can read all my emails. I have nothing to hide. I have freedom of speech and I can say that.” And when someone replies “Yes, you do have the right to say that. And now that your right to privacy is gone, what will you do when the next right disappears? Will you say that is OK?” And the first person has no reply because they are not being intellectually honest with themselves. They know invading someone’s privacy for no real good reason is wrong but they can not admit it because that would mean saying someone they voted for was wrong. And I do not use these examples to get in a political argument but to show the difference in being intellectually honest and not being intellectually honest.
A very simple example is when someone is in a relationship and the other person is doing things that they do not like, showing signs of being someone who is not a very good person but the person does not want to lose the relationship so they will make excuses for the person. “Oh, he/she just had a bad day. They will be better tomorrow.” “Oh, if I had not done this or that, it would not have happened.” Intellectual honesty is looking at situations honestly and with intelligence, separating the emotions from the facts, not making excuses or twisting facts to make what we want to believe be right.
We need to go back to authenticity, honesty, and morals. We need to go back to valuing thinking intellectually instead of following something blindly like being in a cult. That does not ever work and after a while we will begin to believe what we are making excuses for. Look at some of the things that have happened around the country like Jeff Warrens and the FLDS. I personally do not care how many wives a man has or how many husbands a wife has but I do care about child abuse. At some point, those mothers know that allowing their children to be abused is wrong but instead of being intellectually honest with themselves, they make excuses. And as years go by, they will lose the ability to act in an intellectually honest way and instead, just become parrots saying what ever is presented to them.
Take back your brain and use it in a way that is intellectually honest. Do not just take for granted that the things you are told are true. Research and find out: ask questions and if your brain is telling you that what you are hearing or seeing is wrong, follow that feeling. Do not just accept passively. If we do not get back to looking at things with intellectual honesty, we could find ourselves like people in wars past …led to our deaths or downfall. Just think about wars in the past and you will see what I mean. Sometimes we went to war when there was no real reason and told there was. Sometimes people in wars thought it would not be that bad and did not flee….normalcy bias….and were led to their deaths. We have to get back to valuing intellectual thinking and people standing up for if you are complacent, you are complicit to what is happening.
If you are going to like/defend someone/something….do it because of the facts and not because of the political party they are in, the band they play in, the name of the actor or actress, or your hero-worship,etc . I personally do not care who anyone votes for, what actor or actress anyone likes, what political party they support, who they are going with…just make sure if you defend them, do it with intellectual honesty and do not defend that which is not defend-able. We are the intelligent race and being intellectual used to be considered honorable. I still think it is honorable.
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