What is the most important trait that a person can have?
I would say true introspection, the combating of delusions and the facing of the reality of who you are, what you can be, what you cannot be, and what your place truly is. You cannot begin to conceive and understand the world around you unless you have a full grasp of self, the truth of your own personality and the physical container which holds it.
I think the most important trait is (and I cannot believe I am agreeing with joe by saying this...) honesty, followed closely by intelligence (but not specifically tolerance).
I think honesty shows a sense of intelligence or understanding, confidence, and will power. As an example, if someone makes a mistake and they are honest, they will fess up and admit that they've made the mistake. Knowing that you've made a mistake and being honest about it, shows that you are intelligent enough to know how you've made the mistake, and confessing shows that you are ready to face the consequence of your mistake (which shows responsibility, confidence in your ability to cope with the consequences, and will power or at least your ability to be confident in your will power). Also, knowing how you've made the mistake shows that you can also justify to yourself that you deserve the consequences (so long as they are not unreasonable (which is where intelligence comes as a close second)) which shows that you are honest with yourself.
I've always thought that honesty was a very important trait, but have never thought about it as much... I'm glad I posted this debate.
It's what you learn in life.
Life seems inherently "negative", and I think it's about how you deal with that "negative" that makes you who you are. If you're honest you'll deal with it the way it needs to be dealt with, realistically.
Also, I think if you're honest, you can be more open with yourself and learn a lot more through introspection... which is what AngeloDeOrva said... so consult him concerning that.
I usually find that when I laugh at something I say, that it is sick and twisted, and I didn't have any part in thinking about it before it came out of my mouth...
I laugh like it's the funniest thing ever and then I wonder if I'm crazy because I say things without thinking about it, but they are so funny that I have to laugh, as if it's something I've never thought about before, but I had to have thought about it because I said it... and then wonder if I'm crazy again... and that's a little funny too...
Intelligence: A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on", "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.
Citing intelligence as the most important trait that a person can have is kind of like wishing for more wishes!
Mainstream Science on Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
Intelligence alone can bring a lot of problems. If intelligence is what you admire in people, then you wouldn't disagree with Hitler, in fact you may look up to him.
There are a lot of intelligent people in the world, but rather than using it moderately, they use it selfishly. An intelligent person would figure out, quite easily, that doing the wrong thing will make life better for themselves. Look at thieves, as an example. People who rob banks probably have good reasoning skills, I know that they plan, know how to solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and from experience... All of those traits can be seen in many people who aren't considered "good" people. For that reason I chose honesty before intelligence.
Respect. Respect for him/herself. Respect for others. Respect for life. Respect for one's own body. Respect for elders. Respect for others' rights. Respect for animals. Respect for opinions.
All these and more are essential values. When you respect things you tend to make better decision--often the right ones.
You cannot truly respect something and destroy it.
Essay on Respect (plato.stanford.edu)
Yes, respect goes a long way. I mean, even when I disagree with someone, I try not to be disrespectful. At least, that's how I see myself. I don't know what you all see but I also hope that my actions show that I also process input from others and modify my behavior. But you know, it's really hard. I mean I've been such a smart ass for so long that sometimes I can't resist making a crack.
A sense of humor is paramount. Who wants to be stuck somewhere, maybe out for dinner for example, with a person who takes everything seriously? If all my jokes are dying on the table in front of my sooner or later I'm going to reach for the butter knife to jab in my eye for some semblance of entertainment.
Side: Sense of Humor
You would be so disagreeable as to stab your butter knife into your dinner guest's eye?
Please do not invite me to dine with you for I would surely and swiftly decline in repulsion.
I agree though, humor is very important (but most important? I don't know about that).
Side: Sense of Humor