A very good professor of mine told me boldly that I have to show some humility in my professional/academic writing. Should we show humility?
Should We Have Humility in Our Writing?
Well, first off I understand that humility is perhaps the best way to dispose of arrogance an thus have people empathize with your arguments and writing. It makes sense that a nice and well presented argument with well endowed humility might make people understand that you are not an a@#hole.
Yet, I wonder if too much humility might lead people to not take you seriously because it might imply that you do not have enough confidence not only in your argument but in yourself. Maybe being to humble, people would actually dismiss your arguments and evidence more easily?
To be honest I do not know and I am not sure. However, I am sure of one thing: that a moderated balance between humility and confidence is perhaps the best way to write. The reason being is that you can express confidence but also not appear like a total ass doing it.
This is without a doubt an extension of the old arrogant/confident debate, yet applied to writing. It is so very important to show off your confidence in your thesis, but if you sound to arrogant it will not be good. So, two extreme of the spectrum would have the same negative effect.
Also, I do no know what humility really means in writing, but I think it is a relative process that depends not just on the writer but also the reader.
The point is that maybe we should try to let go of that arrogance that seems to become to intrinsic to writing. In Judaism anavah( humility) is one of the most important virtues a person could employ. Humility is true wisdom.
Published in The Art of Polemics, Issue 1, on June 18th, 2014.