“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding.
The highest form of knowledge … is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.
It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
“I give zero fucks about anything yet I have strong opinions about everything, even topics I’m uniformed on.”
“You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”
I say that because having an opinion, more likely than not, will make you an asshole.
I have lots of opinions. And lots of people think I am an asshole.
While we tend to take this whole topic of ‘opinion giving’ and opinion … and wad it up into some smelly misshapen spitball of nastiness … the truth is that not all opinions are created equal. The truth is that opinions come in a wide variety spanning from complete and utter made up bullshit to solidly grounded fact based thinking.
To be clear … this means that I am taking the distinction of opinions beyond the absurdity we seem to be currently facing that, simplistically, facts are very much like opinions. It is absurd because … well … facts and opinions are as different as a bird that an fly and a flightless bird.
Opinions are discard-able … what I own one day can be discarded for another … on another day. Facts are … well … facts cannot be discarded and, yet, in today’s world we seem to treat facts exactly the same way.
This not only implies facts don’t matter but, correspondingly, truth is negotiable <if mattering at all>.
Opinions, facts, whatever … it doesn’t matter because we seem to be relatively indifferent to whether something is grounded in fact based evidence or even reality. Now … there are certainly some cues to the more bullshit opinions … one well-used cue is:
“there is no smoke without fire”
Yeah, but half the time the ‘fire’ is simply that someone made some shit up. It’s a really stupid proverb, used as an excuse to desperately cling to unjustified beliefs & opinions. Facts are more difficult to translate into “cues” mostly because simply calling something a fact does not actually make it a fact.
“When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out.
Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed but look only and solely at what are the facts.“
Bertrand Russell 1959
Suffice it to say … opinions swing maddeningly back and forth between emphasizing ‘ a focus group of one’ to magnify some theoretical scale which, when used cleverly, can be leveraged to undermine the fabric of some truth and a well-articulated grounded-in-fact view.
This swinging wide range of opinions promotes a greater sense of questioning the expertise of anyone who might calmly assess the wide range of opinions and attempt to weigh them properly.
This means both opinion givers and opinions assessors are diminished <and all that remains is an opinion — false or true>.
I know I write things out in as many thoughtful pieces as I can on enlightened conflict just so I can, personally, skew my thinking away from simple rants and toward some enlightened opinion <scattered with real facts>.
To me … a good opinion is due some dignity and integrity. Those who disagree tend to be the ones who spew forth intolerance, conspiracy theories and wild claims of ‘this is unequivocal truth’ <remember … beware those who claim truth>.
No doubt there are many aesthetic pleasures to opinions. I certainly enjoy them.
And I do think it is incredibly important for people to tell you what they are thinking, what side they are on and why … and even some recognition of perceived bias. That creates a well formed opinion from which others, assuming they have a somewhat open mind, can think & assess.
And therein lies the rub.
Today’s opinion environment is not particularly conducive to ‘open mind.’
It is almost like we have embraced what Milton suggested … what is so attractive to human beings is Satan’s byword – ‘Evil be Thou my good.’
I believe to untangle the evilness seeping within the world of opinions is to begin recognizing that while all opinion givers may be created equal not all opinions are created equal. The opinion world is almost demanding an “honest and intellectual combat.”
I didn’t make up that phrase … in fact … if you go read The National Review magazine mission and convictions you will not only find a well-crafted conservative manifesto but this:
D. The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so. In this cultural issue, we are, without reservations, on the side of excellence (rather than “newness”) and of honest intellectual combat (rather than conformity).
Maybe we should all suppose that someone is trying to impose upon us ‘their modish fads & fallacies” and in doing so consciously decide, if we elect to be an opinion giver, to stand on the side of excellence and of honest intellectual combat.
Maybe we should all suppose that opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge in that it requires no accountability, no understanding.
Maybe we should all suppose that while opinions are important … not all opinions are created equal.