Monday, November 29, 2010

Holding Beliefs Lightly

"But I’m trying to hold my beliefs lightly, in the long view that almost all of them, I’m sure, will one day be seen as very naive or even completely misguided.

The purpose of holding them lightly is not to drop them completely, but just make it more difficult to beat other people over the head with them, more difficult to hold on to them when they’re clearly not being helpful, and easier to swap for other ideas, when those new ideas appear promising."
That is from a very nice post about "smart aid" by David Week.   Any serious aid worker is constantly trying to infer principles about what works and what doesn't, and then to have those principles guide his/her actions.  Naturally, many of us want to tell others what we have discovered about what is effective and what is a waste of time and resources.  But we should realize, says Week, that we will often be wrong, and that should be very humbling.