Other (Part I)

(originally posted on Twitter 09/06/18)

Ye know, I’ve never felt I ‘fit’ in anywhere: the world’s always seemed strange…beautiful, but strange. I feel a bit of a passenger in my own life at times, wondering what the fuck is going on one moment to the next….I mean, I know WHat is happening, I often can’t figure out Why it’s happening……whatever “it” is…

I’ve come to realise I just don’t understand most people.

One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to change my mind; alter my opinion. People can be revered for having strong opinions they fight hard to defend, and won’t budge on, and while admirable, is it enough? See, I fully understand that any opinion I have/hold on a given subject/object/topic depends entirely on what I know, what I have experienced, and anything I can extrapolate from information available to me……and I fully understand, at all times, I could be wrong. If there is a piece of information I didn’t previously have, or a perspective I hadn’t considered, that if demonstrated, proven, or otherwise successfully argued, then I must include it in the formation of a new opinion; if this means doing a full 180 on a position I held, so be it.

Now, I thought this was reasonable of me; I thought this is what we’re supposed to do. Isn’t this how we learn from each other? Isn’t this how ideas and knowledge are advanced? Or is the right thing to block out information you don’t like, and relentlessly defend opinions formed on demonstrably incomplete, or bad, information..is this how adults function these days? ’cause I don’t know anymore..

What is an opinion anyway? A quick search and you’ll find it defined as:

But can an opinion be wrong? I believe it can be, yes, in one circumstance. Obviously most opinions can’t be wrong – “was that film any good last night?”, “it was terrible: just seemed to drag on!”

Many opinions are formed on a purely subjective basis, on personal bias…someone else may think the film was epic!

But what about opinions that require, in substantive part, objective analysis? Opinions that matter? On bigger issues that don’t just affect you? Issues impacting the welfare and safety of others who don’t have the luxury, safety or security you do? Where the implications are far reaching, and may go on to provide the social framework our future generations grow into? Opinions on science, politics, health, etc? Can they be wrong? Surely subjective analysis isn’t enough?

My opinion?

Refusal to: acknowledge or accept provable, objective data/information; put your personal bias to one side; consider alternative valid perspectives, is intellectually lazy and dishonest…and wrong. So many people do it..some who really should know better.

How on Earth do we progress as a species if the same arguments are had over, and over, and over, and over again? That creationism, for example, is still a thing, I find truly absurd.

It’s these opinions I believe are wrong: wilfully un/under-informed ones.

There is another, horrifyingly underused, option: “I don’t know”. This is actually my opinion on lots of topics…see, I also recognise instances where I either don’t know enough to reach any sort of fair conclusion, or have too much compelling and competing information on both or more sides to form an opinion I’m satisfied with; in either case, my opinion is [to the effect of] “I don’t know”. And I’m OK with this. It may be a difficult thing to do, depending, but I can be persuaded. I’ll ask loads of questions, play Devil’s Advocate even, and at some point I’ll also likely ask “can you prove that?”. Ultimately, I may then change/form an opinion, I may not, but I’ve listened, may even’ve learned something; I may also have altered the other person’s opinion……

16. You must understand at some point we all must accept truths we don’t like; truths we’re uncomfortable with – rejecting them only limits your understanding and you do yourself a disservice.

It Is uncomfortable at times – I do hold some opinions I’m uncomfortable with….but my integrity does Not allow me to overlook proof/evidence…or in many cases, lack thereof..

What is true is true whether I like it or not.

But hey, maybe I really am the one who has it all wrong…….not playing the game right…..?

After all, opinions are “not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”….right…..

Sure, but if they’re not, and wilfully so, what value do your opinions really have?…. As far as I’m concerned? No value: I’m not interested…aaaaand you’re wrong; why should anyone listen? All opinions are NOT created equal.

Sadly, too many people these days ARE intellectually lazy and/or dishonest; too many “Good Citizens” put their critical thinking skills on hold for what seems progressive, fashionable, right – often hidden agendas packaged in celebrity, fad, and propaganda; accompanied with a tendency to deride and castigate those not buying into it.

For too many, it seems, it’s just easier, sometimes safer, to just go with the flow…….but where does that lead us? I dread to wonder, and I certainly don’t want to go.

edited 21/01/19