Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation | #10 of Top 10 2019

Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation | #10 of Top 10 2019

EMILY CHAMLEE-WRIGHT: So think about the last
conversation you had where you thought, golly, that was such a great conversation. What did it feel like? Why did it seem like a really great conversation? And the chances are good that it was a kind
of conversation that left you feeling smarter. It was the kind of conversation where you
felt like you discovered something new, that it left you deeply curious about something
else. It might have been a conversation that challenged
you in all the right ways. That’s a truly great conversation. It’s one where we genuinely learn something
or we come to a deeper understanding about why someone else holds a particular point
of view. Right? That deeper understanding and that learning
is what we’re after with great conversations. And so one of the things I’m interested in
is what are the design principles of a great conversation. What are the essential elements that make
a conversation truly a great conversation? And humility would be one basic design principle
that we should all start from. Now with humility, I don’t just mean deference
to expertise, right, that you are so much smarter at that thing so I’m going to have
humility with respect to you on that thing because you know more about it than I do. Now maybe that’s true, right? But that’s not the kind of humility I’m talking
about, because that’s a sort of humility that could come to an end, right? I could learn as much about that particular
topic, and therefore with that kind of thinking I would say I can set aside my humility. The kind of humility I’m talking about is
the kind that you can’t set aside. Because the world is an incredibly complicated
place. None of us can ever have the full lock on
truth. We can only see the world from a particular
vantage point. And that means that our knowledge is going
to have special insight because of our vantage point, but it’s also going to be limited because
of our vantage point. And so that limited knowledge that we can
have about the world means that we must enter into any conversation with a deep sense of
humility, because I need you to help me fill in my knowledge gaps. Right? And you need me. And that’s the cool thing about conversation,
is that it is mutual in the sense that both of us look at the same world from different
vantage points, and that means that we each have something to offer the other. And that’s true whether one person is the
expert or not. Right? We have the opportunity to gain in our knowledge,
to learn from anyone. With this way of thinking about humility,
anyone can be your teacher, whether it’s your professor, or whether it’s an elementary school
student who’s lived on the planet in different circumstances than you lived on the planet. That elementary school student can teach you
something that you can only get by talking with them. That’s that deeper level of humility. Some of the other key design elements of a
great conversation would be, for example, critical thinking and sympathetic listening. There’s a lot that gets said about critical
thinking; it’s that ability and eagerness to identify gaps in logic or shortfalls in
evidence-based argumentation. It is the cornerstone of what it means to
have a liberal education, is to engage in that kind of critical thinking. Now less often discussed and surely less often
celebrated is what I call sympathetic listening. And I use the word sympathetic in the way
that Adam Smith used the word sympathetic, which is: Am I really understanding from that
other person’s point of view? That commitment to understanding the argument
from the other person’s perspective. Now, what sympathy in this case means is not
that I feel what they feel. It’s that I’m willing to set aside, even if
it’s just temporarily, that hunt for the slightest misstep in logic or reasoning. Setting that aside for a moment so that I
can listen really carefully to what my conversation partner is saying, so I can understand from
their perspective what their intellectual project is or why it is that they are looking
at the same world I’m looking at but coming to a very, very different conclusion. I should assume that that person that I’m
having that conversation with is intelligent and is exercising reason, so when I enter
into the conversational space with that good faith that they’re exercising reason, then
what that means is that I need to set aside for a moment my hunt for the slightest misstep
in logic so that I can really hear why it is that this smart person came to a different
conclusion than I came to.

38 Replies to “Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation | #10 of Top 10 2019”

  1. I had a conversation about it so please don't tell me to be the same as the last story is dangerous and will get someone in your film be prepared for it

  2. I think why we need humility is because a human, generally, naturally, thinks he knows more than the other.
    Humility, sort of, brings us on par, and on an equal footing, paving the way for a balanced playing field, an open mind and, perhaps, a right attitude, or outlook,…?

  3. OMG!! Possibly the worst lighting I have ever seen in any of your videos. Is there no oversight?
    Over lite and lens flare; whoever produced this should be fired.

  4. She needs to learn the word "steel man-ing" (opposite of "straw man-ing"). It's gaining popularity, particularly thanks to Sam Harris, Dawkins and others.

  5. This was awesome…. couldn’t have come at a better time in our collective dialogue when people look at others with different views and assuming too much about their motives.

  6. Ok, the headings for all your points are probably perfectly spot on. After the initial promise though I was left disappointed by the lack of tangibility, "take-home-ness". How about re-filming and adding just one quality example for each point? It'll be 2 minutes longer but now truly useful. Surely broad usefulness was your goal in the first place. 🙂

  7. This is just basic shit. Come on Big Think, please try harder, she even used the word "Golly" I almost stopped there and then.

  8. Excellent content and presentation, thank you. She describes extremely important aspects of improving societies and civilization

  9. No one from this century truly understands how the universe brought us here all we know is we're born from our mother's womb then raised to become adults with morals. We are taught to eat right and get our spirits right but there is science which leads us to no conclusion of how the 1st humans really were physically created. It's a mystery to the world without full proof but that would be new evolution in history to unlock top secret knowledge of other species and advanced technology from artificial intelligence. Area 51 is real God is real we need to understand that part. Now to get a better understanding of reason and logics you must 1st understand God's intention his dimensions then listen and obey his word for why we were put here to be kings and queens of the land til new earth comes great spiritual things will always happen to manifest amen and glory to God for many miracles and blessings. Pray for the sick and the elderly to heal. We all believe what we choose to believe plus we all have the will power to reach our greatest achievements. Understand great minds think alike. We evolve and become stronger the more we master our abilities to have well behaved balance intellectual conversations threw out the world. Mankind depends on nature and all the elements of earth. Save our planet. Lower our cost of emissions then plant more evergreen trees and use alternative energy like the wind and the sun to live more sufficient and affordably. The atmosphere matters all the above. Any other questions we'll talk about it ok take care thanks it was a pleasure engaging with your topic Ms. I think your very smart I felt your vantage points. I needed that feedback thanks again. Now. Merry Christmas and happy New Years. Peace.

  10. Very interesting but not everyone sees this keep in mind the way we see this some one else sees it differently. There are some blind or just incapable of truthfully using a smart phone or computer.

  11. I feel like the "art" of conversation is really just another excuse for unaccountability. It makes room for trickery and lying.

  12. Now, after watching the video I still stand by what I've said. Serious, how about we just talk, if you are going to make ''rules'', it doesn't really add to the learning process because almost anything becomes predictable. I get the sympathetic listening part, but that's exactly what I'm talking about, if you don't mind about that kind of missteps, it leaves room for people to ramble about anything they want. I mean I'm considered a slow thinker/speaker by most people (and let us get real, how much sympathy do these calibre people get, right?) but I'm not easy to misstep, so with that said. No, I will not have any sympathy for missteps, you just think 5 seconds, then speak.

  13. My thoughts on "a great conversation" is the following: Always use critical thinking, always. Who am I talking to? In this case (well I'm just listening, but still) She is Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies. So who is "The Institute for Humane Studies"? "The Institute for Humane Studies serves as the recruitment firm for the state-based and election-based programs facilitating Koch’s agenda across the country. According to a representative of the Charles Koch Foundation, campus programs like the Institute for Humane Studies 'act as a talent pipeline' for the Koch network’s infrastructure of think-tanks, front groups, and advocacy projects. By 'help[ing] students see the message to fight for freedom,' these campus programs are intended to groom a grassroots base of supporters aligned with Koch’s policy agenda." – According to

    "Big Think" is a "Big Koch" organization…

  14. I love this speech! I crave these kinds of conversations! But it’s been problem for me because I instigate them all the time. I always dig deeper and ask question to people and I am afraid many of them are annoyed. Or they may say their “brain hurts”. Oh – I would also suggest calling it “empathy” instead of “sympathy” here. Thanks for the great insight!

  15. For the majority of the population arguing over overly simplistic opinions is a requirement for a so-called quality "conversation".

    which means that most people don't actually have conversations anymore but instead all they do is argue like Petty children or brainwashed Sports driven mentality junkies better always chasing a dopamine release of which is psychologically associated with winning or they're addicted to confrontation and the neurochemistry thereof, or some combination of that.

  16. At a minute and thirty. Don't forget that you always have to tell people you respect their opinions even when you don't. You have to pretend opinions matter even when they don't. You have to pretend that stupid fucking people who are mentally lazy and don't know shit about anyting have value in an intellectual capacity. Just more manipulations for the mentally weak and intellectually dishonest cowards that make up the majority… even intellectuals have been swept up in this bullshit Conformity and get butthurt if you won't conform to the same mentally imprisoning shackles of emulated status quo driven wasteful bullshit that they have conformed to. I think there might even be a little bit of spite at play in these equations well, "if I had to conform to a bunch of status quo driven bulshit and I'm not allowed to shine as brightly as I possibly can whenever I want, then you're not allowed to and fuck you for not conforming you piece of shit", or some such nonsensical irrational bullshit line of thought.

  17. At 1:60. You say that none of us can have the full lock on truth but that's not a fact, it's not the truth, it's just a diarrhea of the mouth opinion that you wish was true and you may think it's true because you've been distracted by your life, your goals, your aspirations and responsibilities as well as focusing on a bunch of social Conformity so you can survive socially and thereby be economically viable…

    Unfortunately for you, you're not a logician or a critical thinker but rather a politician and a psychological manipulator. honeypotter.

  18. At 2:33. Only one time in my life have I had to call up a head of a college Department to ask a question and they didn't know the answer to my question.

    Perhaps most people who are not dedicated or who are not no life intellectuals need other people in every conversation but most of the time people are a waste of my fucking time. I can count on one hand the amount of people I've met that have actual intellectual value to me and I felt like I needed them for something or another and it had nothing to do with any conversation we ever had or any intellectual endeavor..

    There are specialists that know things about law and industry of which I care very little about that I need to navigate this so-called civilized society but other than that oh, they better be asking me how to live their lives and how to perceive reality or why they have so much psychological baggage. You're fucking pretending. Are you having fun with your fantasy? Why do you think you're an expert? What exactly do you think you're an expert on? Where did you learn it? Are you logically flawed? Are you cognitively biased? Are those to braided together to the point of making you delusional?

  19. at 2:48. More honeypotting psychological manipulation to win your popularity contest. And your opinion is not a fact. Opinion plus opinion equals opinion. This is not big thinking. this is just diarrhea of the mouth conformist coward psychological manipulation in order to win a political vantage point and then be more popular and thereby be more economically viable. Additionally, this is what she wants everyone to be, that serves her agenda, not ours.

  20. At 3 minutes. Again, everyone knows something you don't and being able to switch gears and become the student at any moment it's just a matter of being able to admit when you don't know something and being rational. It has nothing to do with humility or some other excessively individualistic cognitively biased motive. It's a matter of efficiency. It's a matter of being realistic.

  21. At 3:17. Anything I've ever learned from an elementary school student I could have learned from an encyclopedia or Wikipedia.

    and then you go on to talk about a deeper human connection which is treating human as if it's an identity which is no different than a religious belief. You don't know what we are, nobody does. You pretending that you're deeper human connection even fucking exists in the sense that you think it does is indeed arrogance, presumption, overconfidence and it makes you a hypocrite.

  22. At 3:22. Key design elements. Interesting choice of words. Perfect considering all of this is operant conditioning. LMAO

  23. sympathetic listening just means pretending that someone's opinion matters when it doesn't and likely they're just telling you something that you already heard before and you know in great detail but you're supposed to just sit there and let them waste your fucking time. Let them waste their time as well and you don't do them any favors by letting them ramble on with their diarrhea of the mouth opinions pretending as if it matters. You're just psychologically manipulating them into liking you again and winning your fake as fuck popularity contest. You're everything that's wrong with the world.

  24. as if other people have a commitment understanding me? Of course not, they never let me finish an entire thought, they interrupt me, they fill in the blanks with their misunderstandings, then they try to argue with their misunderstandings, then they try to badger me into silence when I try to stop them from running blindfolded with scissors. Fucking asinine. Fucking simpletons of overpopulated the planet and you're fucking proof.

  25. Look at the upvotes and downvotes. That is a perfect example of evidence of just how well towing the line of status quote driven bulshit opinions of the day is such a good psychological manipulator to win your fake as fuck popularity contests. .

    just pretend people's opinions matter, pretend that you respect them, pretends they're intelligent when they aren't and of course feign humility when you know that you're smarter than they are and you know they're full of shit but you'll make them love you and then they'll vote for you or you'll have their support, you will gain social clout and then your life will be easier, you'll survive socially, you'll be more economically viable. The list goes on and on and on you fake as fuck piece of shit motherfuking losers.

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