Opinions, Intelligence and Persistence
Is it Opinion? Or Intelligent Opinion?
All human beings form opinions on a wealth of issues, people and subjects in general. These opinions do matter. When opinions are united in a single voice, that's referred to as "the court of public opinion."
It may seem rather odd that thousands of people can come to the same conclusions when forming opinions. This is what free thinking individuals do. The impact of opinion on an issue can be passionate, mediocre or indifferent. Most individuals prefer to base their opinions on a well-developed research of information that creates or adjusts their personal opinions. With the mass forms of communication at present, it would seem opinions are the rule, rather than the exception. The problem is that opinions are not always reliable. The basis upon which opinion is formed may originate from faulty or biased information. To this extent, public opinion can be dangerous.
When Opinions Vary Widely
Frequently, opinions vary widely for no reason other than perverse persistence. It's commonly understood that an opinionated and all too persistent individual holds influence over others by simply repeating the same platitudes of opinion in an attempt to prove a negative or contort facts.
Those who are old enough to remember the political theater of WaterGate during the Nixon Administration recall that it was public opinion, rather than a partisan effort, that forced the resignation of President Nixon. Clearly, those were times when public opinion was far more cohesive to a cause.
Politics, like religion are always a matter of individual opinion. Yet, the kernel of both of these issues always comes down to a single opinion that formed opinions of others. Is this opinion or opinion borne of intelligent critical thinking?
Intelligence vs. Opinion
If opinion could be researched to its core in the same way the pyramids were researched by archaeologists, it's would be possible to see the imprint of culture in its bedrock. World History has proven that early cultural endemics shape opinions.
It's easy to imagine that prehistoric man formed opinions, albeit limited by the naturally evolving environment. Biblical history reveals such highly opinionated men were considered "sages" who possessed more wisdom than their peers. This was based on the extension of ideas, as yet untried or unproven. A man in the Dark Ages may have formed the opinion that sunlight and darkness comprised a single span of time we know as "day" and "night."
The problem with stalwart, inflexible opinion is that it leaves little room for transparency or the natural progression of thoughts and ideas. Thus, it lacks intelligence beyond a particular previously developed degree. The importance of determining opinion from intelligent thought cannot be understated. It's an opinion of value only if the opinion is based on proven facts and intelligence.
Intelligent, Opinionated Life Forms
As humans age, they are often confronted by those with a manic need to impress their opinion on others to the exclusions of others' opinions. Intelligent human life forms have no need to proselytize their opinions for opinion's sake.
Rather, intelligent human beings use their opinions as a continuation of their need to advance natural intellectual maturity.
It doesn't go unnoticed that the highly opinionated feel a need to form a consensus among like opinions that theirs is the "only" opinion that should be considered. From this point, they feel they can only impress their personal opinions on others in decibels akin to a fighter jet taking off on a runway. These are the "voices of opinion" that cannot be heard in delicate whispers. Oddly, the most influential, intelligent opinions are those that "talk softly" and "carry a big stick."
Consider some of the best examples of soft spoken, powerfully opinionated individuals like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Nary a wrinkle of their brow, nor elevation of their voices raised skyward were necessary to observe their patently forthright opinions.
Compare this to Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin or Kim Jung Un of North Korea who needed throngs of thousands to impose their opinions on others. When the impact of their opinions are studied, it's clear the wisdom of the two former, far outweighs the wisdom of the three latter mentioned.
Opinions - Educated Guessing?
It's fairly easy to distort individual opinion once it is heard in the court of public opinion. Misinterpretations are always a problem when sorting through ambiguity. We know politicians do this best who do not want to alienate a prime sector of voters. We also know that the glut of commercials on TV and in media also "cover all bases" to avoid losing market share. But, when it comes to serious issues, are opinions more in the realm of educated guessing than intelligent, well researched formulation of opinion?
We Are They Who Know It All
Children in the middle 1950s were quite familiar with the phrase, "know it all." It referred to someone who was highly opinionated and refused to accept the opinions of others. Oddly, there are those in society today who ascribe to this same malfunctioning idea that they know it all or, at worst, know it better.
In the movie, "Moonstruck," the lead character, Loretta Castorini, debates the evils of falling in love with her fiance's brother, Ronny. In this debate between Ronny and Loretta, she tells him, "I know what I know." How very true a statement that is.
There are things we all know as a result of years of experience. With experience comes wisdom and intellectual, intelligent maturity, hopefully.
It simply is not possibly to erase life experience. For example, those fortunate individuals who have children possess a very different, more knowledgeable wisdom born of that particular experience. It may be quite helpful to seek advice from childless experts. It may not always be suitable or useful in practice.
A zoo keeper cannot tell a NASA astronaut how to deal with loss of gravity in a space ship. He/she might try to impart such opinion, using common sense. But, the astronaut has been trained over a period of years in space flight. The zoo keeper has not.
Very often, we all encounter individuals who pretend to "know it all." We can listen to their advice; perhaps even find several kernels of wisdom. However, it is always the responsibility of the individual to take advice he/she can use and leave the rest. Advice can be filtered through the prism of personal opinion.
Make Certain Opinions are Intelligent
There's really only one way to make certain your opinions are intelligent: Consider your life experience weighed against the ability to prove beyond doubt your opinion is correct. Which leads to the third and most frequent nuance in opinion: Persistence.
The persistently opinionated person loses credibility because the court of public opinion quickly finds flaws in the basis of opinions shared. It's like announcing, "It's going to rain today," while living in a South American rain forest.
The Dilemma of the Persistently Opinionated
Obviously, humans are all born with free will. As such, humans always have options. They can choose to listen to the persistently opinionated. Or, they may decide that watching a human head battering itself against the Rock of Gibraltar is too labor intensive.
The fine line between intelligent opinion and persistent opinion lies in the body of facts presented. Certainly, Galileo found it necessary to persist in his ideas that the earth was round. Thomas Edison persisted in his opinions of electricity.
It's usually the all too persistent opinions that are not based on facts than begin to sound more like indoctrination of the minds of those who are reluctant to be indoctrinated. Intelligent opinions always need no persistence beyond the element of time or practice proving them to be fact.