Opinions, facts and human ego

I had an older friend once who used to say, “Opinions are like “butt-holes. Everybody’s got one.”

I was reminded of that recently when I made the mistake of posting quotes and statistics on a particular web forum. The quotes and statistics brought out the tiger claws in people. They weren’t even my words, just some numbers I found that suggested a particular personality style might be associated with higher performance on a particular kind of test. At any rate, I soon discovered through interactions with various others on the internet that many people really don’t care what the numbers say or what research says, or what history says or what the Bible says or what anything says. They care what THEY say and as long as the supporting evidence lines up with their own concept of reality they are fine with it no matter where it comes from, but the second any type of evidence, opinion, fact,  statistic, historical documentation or eye witness account…any source whatsoever, doesn’t support their version of reality they become huffy, indignent, emotional, irrational or aggressive. It seems that to put forth a claim that something is other than the way they perceive it to be brings out a whole array of negative responses and emotions…yes, emotions, even in the most astute, self-controlled ones. Oh, and did I mention arrogance? It certainly brings that out. King Solomon once said, “Every man is right in his own eyes.” How right he was! I’ve seen it, watched it in others and in myself.

The same friend who said opinions were like butt-holes also said, “We all live in enchanted cottages.” Again, he was right. There was wisdom in that saying. This week I came to grips with something I have known all along, in the natural realm people will believe anything you tell them so long as it’s what they want to hear and it goes along with their concept of reality. My challenge for myself and for others this week is a fourth grade assignment:  listen to everything you hear, decide what’s opinion and what’s fact and see if it makes you see the world a little differently. Think for yourself.

 

Here’s an example of an opinion: Ice cream tastes good.

Here’s an example of a fact: Ice cream melts if left out at room temperature.

6 thoughts on “Opinions, facts and human ego

    1. True. Then for the sake of all those who aren’t aware that room temperature usually means above 32 degrees F, let’s specify that room temperature, in this particular case, refers to rooms between 68 and 80 degrees F.

  1. Anthony De Mello, On Opinions:
    “People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”

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