epistemic status: I'm pretty sure something like this is true, but this may not be a refined way to convey it. My next blog post is taking a while to finish up, so this is off-the-cuff to compensate for that.
epistemic status update: some of the folks I've shared with this have expressed hesitation without knowing how to put it into words. use this as you will.
Some advice I have given to myself recently, as I've been working on implementing it in myself:
Be arrogant enough to have your own understanding and humble enough to not try to overwrite other people's.
Rephrase: Take other's knowledge as information and be agenty about whether you accept it, don't let their models simply overwrite your own. Speak, confident that you thought about it and that you still might have been wrong. Understand well enough that it helps you refine your understanding to hear what other people think, even when you think they're severely wrong.
Separately, here are several phrasings of another point:
Independently of whether someone is useful, show them they matter in your moral values. Show them that they are an agent that you want to continue existing. Be kind to other people. Maximize your integrity, and in particular minimize the options you have for faking integrity. Say what you really think, even if it hurts you, so that people can trust you to be honest. Consider your moral theory carefully, and then commit to it.
And don't let them overwrite what you think. "Steal" their models and the pieces of their models, and then only use what you stole as far as it is useful. Even the people who are also doing this. Just because they're also arrogant enough to have their own understandings doesn't mean their understandings are right - it just means they'll have more ideas worth stealing.
inspired by Ben Hoffman's recent post on humility, among other things.