Posts by Marilyn Cole for Latest News:
Trust is a concept that we do not often discuss in the context of the school environment but it is a concept that is fundamental to both the good functioning of a school and the relationships within it. The Webster dictionary defines trust as “an assured (or confident) reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
What an amazing opportunity schools have, to build into the men and women of tomorrow. To speak into their character development and to equip them with the skills and tools to think and to contribute. To hold out to them the existence of ‘truth’, and training in the tools to pursue and find it. At a time when our culture is moving quickly towards uncertainty and relativity, a place where there is no one truth, but many truths, we have a great responsibility.
Knowing More About More, Being Better Thinkers, Being Better People
Dow explains that the benefits that come to the intellectually virtuous person can be broken down into 3 categories: we come to know more, become better thinkers, and become better people (p79).
Intellectual humility is probably the most difficult of the virtues to develop because this goes against the currents of our culture, and pride is deeply rooted in all of us (p75).
We often do what we want and then create a moral code that suits our actions……the result is a corrupted intellectual conscience that no longer values the truth, if it can still distinguish the truth from falsehood at all. Dallas Willard has argued that this results in our behaviour guiding our ethics rather than our ethics guiding our behaviour (p66). What a dangerous place to be!
Curiosity is defined as “an eager desire to know; inquisitiveness”. It asks the questions ‘why’ and ‘how’ and pursues the answers. It is often the forerunner of invention and new ideas. It is not just a state of mind but is active in its observation, investigation and exploration; in its pursuit of answers.
“Those who are fair-minded earnestly want to know the truth and thus are willing to listen in an even handed way to differing opinions, even if they already have strong views on the subject…they attempt to view the issue from the perspective of their opponents, believing they do not always have the most accurate or complete vantage point on a given issue….. they have chosen to put the truth above allegiance to their ego or cherished opinions…..” (p50)
There is something deeply satisfying about completing a task, especially when that task included significant obstacles or hardships. (p44)
Intellectual tenacity is simply dogged determination. It is this determination that in both our actions and our thinking habits often makes the difference between success and failure, fulfilment and frustration (p39).
"It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentionally lying that there is so much falsehood in the world." (p33)
The fact that we fail to be adequately careful in our thinking is usually not the fault of our intentions but simply the result of our being out of practice (p35). We are quick to defend our sloppiness with excuses like lack of time or overload of tasks and responsibilities. We may even come to believe that there is not enough time to be deliberately careful in our thinking. After all, in the everyday of life it doesn’t seem to make that much difference to the outcomes.
CS Lewis once wrote “you cannot practice any of the other virtues without bringing this one into play…it is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Honest thinking …. the courage to challenge frightening ideas and the courage to stick to your guns when you become convinced of the truth.”
Dow explains that “those who are intellectually courageous earnestly want to know the truth, and so they take risks in the pursuit of truth. They are willing to reconsider their own beliefs even if this scares them.” (p28)