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I'm both humbled and grateful...
Our Substack — yours and mine — just reached 1000 subscribers. I am both humbled and profoundly grateful. When I began writing last June, I thought a couple dozen readers would be great. Thank you very much.
A few years ago, when I was driving home from the university with my late son, Greg, he asked me this question:
“Dad, you can’t really learn anything unless you realize how dumb you are, right?”
My heart swelled with pride knowing that he had internalized a sense of intellectual humility that I had always tried to model.
“Yes.” I replied, “If you always assume that you’re the least informed person in the room, you will listen to others more intently, ask more thoughtful questions, and be genuinely receptive to other people’s points of view. Everybody knows things that you don’t. Everyone has something to teach you. Every conversation will make you wiser.”
Greg took my advice — which was remarkable for someone just 23 years old — and it did make him a more thoughtful, patient, and ultimately a more intelligent young man. I’ve tried to hold true to that advice.
I began writing this Substack in order to learn things that I didn’t know, and to critically examine what I thought I already knew. As I tell my students, I’m never trying to tell anyone the “Truth” (with a capital “T”). I’m just offering my best guess as to the way things work. I may be sorta’ correct... I may be totally wrong. Just don’t dismiss me out of hand, I tell them. Think a moment about what I’ve said, ask me all the tough questions that cross your mind, and then decide for yourself. Having the opportunity to explain my ideas to them, and answering their questions makes me a little wiser, and a little more thoughtful every day.
So, I’ve learned a lot and done a lot of soul-searching as I’ve struggled intellectually to write this Substack. I’ve learned even more from the reader comments that I’ve received… and I’m very grateful for each of them.
I’ve tried my best to be intellectually humble, fair-minded, and thoughtful when I write. If I am not so, please let me know.
I’ll continue to look forward to your comments and tough questions, should you have them. As I said, each will make me more thoughtful and, ultimately, a better person.
Thank you again for reading,
P.S. I promised a good friend of mine that I would start a podcast if I ever got to 1000 subscribers. He wants to be the sidekick. I guess I’m on the hook for that.