- On Intellectual Traits
By: Gatkuoth Lok.
In the course of 2020, I encountered a good number of both highly and poorly educated fellows. Most of these people are South Sudanese and some are Continental and diaspora Pan-Africanists. In my intellectual engagements with them in various fora specifically on some key issues, I did observe with grave concern a lack of objectivity during intellectual debates. This reality necessitates the need of sharing some intellectual traits as follows.
1. Intellectual Humility
When talking of intellectual humility, we do mean the state of knowing the limits of your know-how to conditions in which your egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively. It follows you have to be sensitive enough to vices like bias, prejudice and limitations of your viewpoints. Intellectual humility hence is the fact of recognizing that you should not claim more than what you actually know. And it is not a weakness or submissiveness, but rather lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with logical foundations/principles or precepts.
2. Intellectual Courage
In all walks of life this trait is vital for it is a consciousness of the necessity to face and fairly address ideas, beliefs or viewpoints toward which we have strong negative emotions and to which we have not given a serious hearing. This typical courage is connected with the recognition that ideas, which are considered dangerous or absurd, are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions and beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading.
3. Intellectual Empathy
In the core of being humane, this characteristic, in essence, is when you have a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put youreself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own.
4. Intellectual Integrity
Living in conformity with the common good is what explains this trait, so-called intellectual Integrity. In this regard, the trait is recognition of the need to be true to the activity of your own brain, which is called thinking. Therefore it has to be dependable in the intellectual standards you apply and hold yourself to the same rigorous standards of evidence and proof to which you hold your antagonists/opponents.
5. Intellectual Perseverance
This trait is a consciousness of the need to use intellectual insights and truths in spite of difficulties, impediments, and obstructions; firm adherence to rational principles notwithstanding the unreasonable resistance of those who do not like your ideas.
6. Faith in Reason
This intellectual trait is the confidence that, in the long run, your own higher interests and those of humankind at large will be best served by giving the freest play to reason, by encouraging people to come to their own conclusions by developing their own rational faculties; faith that, with proper encouragement and cultivation, people can learn to think for themselves, to form balanced viewpoints, draw sensible conclusions, think logically, persuade each other by reason and become reasonable persons, despite the deep-seated hurdles in the native character of the human mind and in society.
This very last characteristic is a consciousness of the need to treat all viewpoints alike or in the same way, without reference to your own feelings or vested interests, or the feelings or vested interests of your friends, community or nation. This means devotion to intellectual standards without reference to your own advantage or the advantage of your group.
To sum up these vital traits, I am obliged to guide you to further read from philosophical branch which is called ‘Critical Thinking’ where you will find these human traits.
One is rationally and empirically bound to fashion his/her way of life in the light of the aforementioned human traits. Yet it is your free choice to do so!
These traits shall guide and shape what we say and how we express our thoughts in the complex quest to bring the world into perfection via debates in various fora. This is our hope to ascertain this ultimate end.
If you are an intellectual and you want to be a public figure or a political player to serve the people you love, then, you are invited to this challenge. The challenge is to have a critical look into the above human traits. It is what you are invited to embrace and observe. Thank you!
(Opinion expressed herein do not reflect Ramciel Broadcasting’s)