Should You Believe Your Own Opinion?

Since I spend far too much time thinking,  I have had a number of opinions over the years.  Some I still hold, but far more have been discarded.  Sometimes I find myself with an opinion so dumb that I can’t even believe I thought it in the first place.  Occasionally, I like to toy with opinions.  I’ll argue a position that I think is nonsense to people who get really mad about my made up point of view.  It’s fun.  If someone is pro-life, take the pro-choice argument, and vise versa.  Debate societies do it regularly and it’s a great way to sharpen your logic skills.

Should you believe your own opinion?  Many people will think this a dumb question.  In the west, we tend to hold opinions sacred.  This is a good thing considering opinion is a liberty many don’t possess.  I would rather a person tell me the worst opinion I have ever heard then not be able to tell me one at all.  My belief, like most Americans, is that one of the greatest things to ever happen to the world was the idea of free speech.  It is one of humanities greatest characteristics, free will, made manifest in the world.

Does this make all opinions equal?  I think very few people would say yes and truly mean it.  As an ideal, I think all opinions should get equal attention, but even that gets a bit murky.  Do I want pseudo Nazis making anti-free speech speeches in the streets? Hell no.  Should they be allowed to anyway? Probably.  Even as I hold the opinion that opinions should get equal treatment, I contradict myself.  I hold an opinion I don’t even believe.  How strange.

When we hold the belief that we are entitled to our opinion, we tend to take it for granted.  If an opinion is sacred, shouldn’t the sacred be handled with care?  This is why I tend to try on opinions, almost like clothes.  I want to know if it fits, if it is actually conveying something meaningful.  I want to question its very fabric, its essence.  If people, as they say, have died for my right to an opinion, I don’t want to take any opinion too lightly or too seriously. I want to question each opinion I hold and make sure I have a damn good reason for holding it.

   

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6 comments

  1. Charles Lominec · February 4, 2015

    Good post and brilliant blog title. I don’t think you contradict yourself regarding free speech. It’s important to give even despicable ideas an opportunity to present themselves, so that we can have an opportunity to debate and discredit them openly. If we ban despicable ideas, they go underground and spread.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael (contemplativemoorings) · February 4, 2015

    I’ve always thought of opinions as “approximations of truth within a particular moment”…Nothing to take too seriously…

    Besides, you’re right that intellectual flexibility is a good thing…

    Like

  3. arcade1775 · February 4, 2015

    I don’t really have anything to say except this:

    Fiiif Chappelle Show – Fifth Amedment: http://youtu.be/mdeo7Q2E5cE

    the end.

    Like

  4. Pingback: #14 My Opinion About the Opinion of Another Fellow Blogger | Towards a new Me
  5. Ranting Crow · February 11, 2015

    Believe your opinion no need. stand behind your opinion you should if you spread the word. It can however change after conversation on which you hear different opinions that may suit your ideology better and makes it easier to stand vast with that opinion.
    It is ever changing to the point you found one to believe in as being good for those around you.

    Like

  6. J. Matthan Brown · February 12, 2015

    I agree that we should be open to hear and understand new ideas and that people are entitled to hold different (sometimes horrible) opinions. And, of course, I agree we should have the humility to acknowledge we could be wrong about many things.

    However, it seems highly unlikely that someone can have an opinion they don’t truly believe in. Sure, you can argue for a position you think is false; but, then, it turns out you don’t actually hold the opinion after all; you’re just putting on a show. Like you said, debate clubs do this and it can be a useful exercise.

    Typically (barring the possibility that you’re a professional con-man or just wanting to mess with someone) we hold the opinions we do because we believe they’re right.

    Anyway, cool post! I look forward to reading more. Take care!

    Like

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