Do you listen? Can you see with another’s eyes?

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski asks

How can we defend ourselves against something of which we are not aware?

and reminds us reminds us that

The stronger the desire, the more important it is to seek an objective opinion.

The issue has long standing. In philosophy it is critical in classifying schools of thought. In science it is a consideration in the quality of measurement and conclusion. In individual lives it is all about how we deal with the world and the people around us.

In psychology, this is known as “denial”, which is a common phenomenon … This phenomenon is clearly described in Scriptures … We must be aware of our susceptibility to self-delusion. This is especially dangerous because the reasons for our denial are often in our subconscious. Denial is not the same as lying. A liar knows that he is lying. The person who is in denial has no idea that he is denying.

It is why arrogance and hubris have such a poor connotation. When there is an excess of confidence, especially in regards to knowledge about things with close personal meaning, there is a significant risk that the knowledge is incomplete or even wrong.

We can detect this imbalance between confidence and quality of knowledge in others. We often fail to even consider we may suffer this in ourselves. It takes education to know about this imbalance and training to learn procedures to accommodate its effect on us. Whether you are a philosopher, a scientist, a journalist, a rabbi, or even just a responsible citizen; whether you attend school or study the Bible or study literature; it is a responsibility for each of us to be humble and to realize we sometimes do not see the world as it really is. We all struggle for a better understanding and a knowledge of the limits of what we do know and how we know it. That is intellectual integrity.

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