Eating humble pie with equals
Within modernity, humility has been relegated to those dusty back rooms where quaint religious virtues are shelved. If people think of it at all, they think of dysfunctional self-putdowns or of submission to hierarchical leadership. In Ludda, however, humility fits right in with our egalitarian ethos. On it hinges our ability to get along with each other.
Humility is at the root of two very practical behaviors: the ability to express remorse, and the inner strength to admit one’s fundamental ignorance and uncertainty. Knowing how to say “I am sorry,” “I was wrong,” and “I don’t know” is so important to us we have turned it into an ongoing reflection.
Our human limitedness leads us too often to hurt or annoy others, and to lay claim to levels of certainty which we in fact do not have access to. To counter this tendency, we seek to cultivate a humble psychological acceptance of who we actually are and a willingness to take responsibility for blunders and over-reaching. In so doing, we become truly teachable!
The opposite of humility is hubris (overweening pride). It is this hubris that goes hand in hand with the complete lack of restraint regarding novelty and technology in the world at large. Ludda’s vision illuminates another path.
* It’s amazingly hard to find a good succinct bit on epistemological humility, that is, the ability to live with ambiguity and human intellectual limits. Here is one attempt.
* Wes Jackson, the man who is trying to develop perennial grains, speaks well of the “ignorance-based worldview.”
* Pretending to certainty plagues science as much as other endeavors. One blogger says: ” ‘I don’t know,’ are probably the three toughest words that a scientist can ever utter.” Schools penalize students for admitting they don’t know with an F. Politicians avoid the three little words like a plague. Here is a transcript of a BBC program showcasing the fact that while everyone knows there is little certainty to be had in life, no-one wants to admit it in public. Just another one of those public secrets: the lust for certainty is a fool’s game.
* Nice ranking of apologies, from “non-apology apologies” to the real ones.
* Useful lists: how to do apologies right, and how to do them wrong.
* There is a difference between the way women and men view and handle apologies.