Are you intellectually benevolent?

Benevolence has to do with being generous, giving and kind. This month, I am wondering if you are intellectually generous, giving and kind, or do you find yourself far too quick to judge or evaluate someone or something else simply because they are different than you or what you believe?

I am on Facebook personally, and The Staver Group has a fan page on Facebook; I am always entertained, in a kind of morose way, at all of the opportunities there are for attack or judgment.

I am not, in any way, suggesting that we should lack good judgment or somehow be free from compelling intellectual debate about differing views. I even like a little fire in the debate; a little hot-blooded emotion. What troubles me is the way in which it has become so personal.

It is interesting to observe the intensity and personalization of disagreement. Take the health care debate raging (and I mean raging literally) in the U.S. right now. Are you kidding me? Calling people names is going to somehow move us closer to a healthier society?

Here is a checklist to evaluate your intellectual benevolence:

1. I am genuinely interested in other points of view.
2. I allow people to have contrary opinions without feeling the need to change their minds.
3. I can ask, listen, read about, and consider other points of view without becoming angry, annoyed or irritated.
4. I avoid name calling, or personal attacks.
5. I ask questions and attempt to understand others.
6. I am able to accept people even if I don’t approve of their beliefs or behaviors.

The more ‘yeses’ the more intellectually benevolent you are.


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