On opinions

Rhetoric extraordinaire Cicero, denouncing a conspiracy by Roman senator Catiline to the Senate in 63 B.C.E. — by Cesare Maccari

Context

Opinions appear to be everywhere and drown our daily lives. This trend seems to be increasing as a function of time. There are both fundamental and systemic reasons for this. I want to explore how this trend affects the value of public opinions as an aggregate, and how we are to evaluate and consider the importance we bestow upon them.

Fundamental Exploration

In contemplating about this subject, I found myself needing to define what opinions are and to find their place within the fabric of human nature.

  1. By approaching it in a dualistic way, it is not a fact. Hence, it has to be relative in nature. It can be used in the formulation of an argument, but it is entirely weak as evidence for it. Independent from argumentation, it can be used as a mechanism for digression.
  2. Since I’ve defined it as relativistic, it exists in a metaphysical framework where there are no absolute truths or fallacies. It is, in contrast, governed by a belief continuum, where truth lies in the eyes of the beholder.
  3. It is not a hypothesis, but it can become one if it is structured in way that it can undergo any type of scientific rigor to validate it.
My conception of the belief continuum. Illustration pour moi elaborated in Keynote :P

Significance of Opinions

What I find most fascinating about opinions is:

  1. Their appealing nature
  2. Their “push effect”
  • What I mean by “push effect” is that every great discovery was probably prefaced by an opinion. “I believe there is a force that keeps us attached to the ground,” leading to gravitational law. Hence, opinions act as precursors of change or progress and, effectively, they “push.”

Systemic Circumstances in the Contemporary World

Now that the fundamental aspects and relevance of opinions have been addressed, I want to delve into how the structure of the world we live in has enabled this explosion of opinions.

Walter Cronkite, 20th-century larger-than-life television news anchor. During his time, considered “The most trusted man in America.” Oh, how the times have changed…

The Value of Opinions

Seeing the significance of opinions, their nature, their impact, and how the current system affects the way they are conjured and consumed, one has to ask, is there any value in opinions as an aggregate?

Conclusion

In a world where opinions are cheap to utter, and where they appear to have a lifespan of 15 days, I call upon myself to elevate the quality of my own opinions to impact the aggregate value of opinions — although in a small proportion — , by being conscious about the beauty that the ability of projecting my own mind has, and how my own assertions can impact the subjective realities of the people that I’m speaking to, be it with my friends, my co-workers, on Twitter, or on this very platform, where I am as of now expressing an opinion about opinions.

  1. How informed I am
  2. How rigorous I was in formulating it
  3. Have I considered the other side
  4. Have I attempted to refute it
  5. Does it serve a greater good

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A simple student. The spectrum of the topics I write about is wide, and so are my interests.