Short Opinions: On Your Opinions

As you age, a realization occurs.

Everyone knows more than me.

They always have it all figured out, right?

Then why do they disagree so much?

The Dunning Kruger effect is not only very common to see but very easy to fall into. It states that often the people who know very little assume they know lots, and those who actually know the most realize how little they truly know. More often than not the assumption of knowledge is detrimental to growth. To assume the most opportune position in terms of learning we can learn from well known Greek philosopher Socrates, as he stated: “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.” Just how many people who, “want to learn and understand each other,” actually do though?

Since the Covid outbreak back in 2020 more and more people have confidently voiced their opinions against common medical consensus and their distrust in the profession as a whole. Often it only takes one person on the side disagreeing with the whole to have “medical experience” and their confidence doubles. Peer-reviewed research holds no precedent to them, and it comes down often to two huge factors: overconfidence in oneself and distrust of often life devoted experts. To clarify this article is not directed toward religious aversion to these decisions but logical ones. 

Another assumption often made by both sides shortsightedly is that the disagreeing party has negative intent. There will always be selfish members of every community who try to take advantage of conflict, but villainization of entire groups is counterproductive and when you take it from either side, most people are trying to do what is best. Assume the other side has good intent, and conversations become much more understanding. This advice isn’t going to change the way you think right now, but in conversation or afterwards reflect on what your intent was when you spoke and what your intent was as you received their thoughts.

Another truth we must arrive at is that although you have a right to your opinion, and to speak your thoughts, all opinions are not equal. A professional in a field will almost always naturally have more valuable and weighted opinions than a random person. Again that isn’t to say other opinions hold no value, but there’s a reason many sports analysts are past athletes. Their knowledge (and often stage presence) gain their ideas precedent over any old sports fan.

Learning is not a lonely process, and is often expedited with collaboration, but among that process there are many factors to be considered. An open and humble mind is hard to keep, but if managed right will greatly expand your capacity for understanding.