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Exposing the hubris in knowing. (2014)

“…the most significant progress (comes from) intellectual humility that lets us accept that most of what we know will … before long, become wrong.”

Elizabeth Nable, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
TEDMED2014 talk

“I learned early on in my career the dangers of being too entrenched in what I knew.”

Elizabeth Nabel shares a personally revealing story that shows how the limits of knowledge can be a weakness and how accepting our ignorance can be a strength.

“…None of us in science and medicine have the answers we tell you we have, because the universe of what we don’t know dwarfs that of what we do know.

“…we’ve talked ourselves into thinking we know – how the body works, how drugs treat disease, how a lot of things supposedly do a lot other things. We are proud of everything we know …but what we have is not knowledge at all. Knowledge has disguised itself as information (and) each bit of new information is but a blip in what we know … knowledge as we know it is fragile and ever-fleeting.

“…the most significant progress we have attained is traceable not to knowledge but to another concept – humility. …I’m talking about the everyday kind of intellectual humility that allows you and I to accept the fact that most of what we know will change. It will, before long, become wrong.”

View her talk here (approx 17 mins): Exposing the hubris in knowing

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