POLYMATHIC HUMILITY

We are different. Often we have sharp differences in our ideologies. Due to our differences, there are clashes. The clash of ideologies results in animosity and acrimony. Getting along, despite differences, seems a difficult proposition. It is because our morality binds and blinds us, says Jonathan Haidt. Our morality binds us to our group's ideologies. We like to believe that our group's ideology is the best. We reject alternate ideologies that are offered to us. Our morality “blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.” The two Bs, Bind and Blind lead us to ‘groupish righteousness’. Due to this, our moral foundations have different configurations, and we “agree to disagree.” The compatibility between two temperamentally different personalities, therefore, becomes difficult. Balanced minds are needed to overcome this difficulty.

In a balanced mind, both empathising and systemising factors are equally strong. Such a mind is disciplined, creative, ethical, and respectful. A balanced mind respects the views of others. A balanced mind is not blind to the anomalies in the group. A balanced mind is both a mirror and a window. It can see the self as well as others.

We are different because we don't have similar capacities. Rabindranath Tagore, a multifaceted visionary was a novelist, poet, dramatist, and artist. In a creative span of 60 years he wrote and gave music to 2,500 songs and drew over 2,000 paintings and drawings. Leonardo Da Vinci, the Mona Lisa man, apart from painting studied anatomy, biology, mathematics, and engineering. He was known for his intellectual, artistic and physical pursuits. If he was proud of his artistic creation, he was also proud of his ability to bend iron bars. Aristotle was known as a philosopher, politician, ethicist, logician, astronomer, biologist, and what not. These beautiful minds were polymaths. TH Huxley described a polymath thus: someone who knows something about everything and everything about something. “The only thing that I know is that I know nothing,” said Socrates. This is a typical polymathic humility.