Today I am thinking about opinions.
Today I was asked my opinion on an issue - public school education... how to fix the system. It's a big topic in the news these days. Now, I am not an educator. Most of what I know about public school education is what I have learned through personal experience... my own education... the education of my children... educational experiences shared with me by others... that's about it.
I find it exhausting that everyone is expected to have an opinion on everything. In order to have an opinion, you need to prepare, to find out about the topic. You should do research. You should think about it. Ideally, you should discuss the topic with others and then finally come to a conclusion. That takes a lot of time.
But this 'expectation' that you 'must' have an opinion is so pervasive that we are subliminally coerced to express opinions on pretty much everything despite the fact that in most cases we are woefully unprepared to state our case.
I remember I had an ailment of some kind that required medical attention. I made an appointment with my doctor. And then I prepared for the appointment by doing copious amounts of research and arriving at a probable diagnosis. The doctor issued me into the examining room and said, "What is the problem?" And I told her. I explained everything very carefully including the onset and progression of the symptoms as well as the probable diagnosis. After I was finished, she said, "That sounds pretty good to me, I think you probably have it figured out." I felt quite pleased with myself.
Then she said, "You don't mind if I have a look, do you?"
After you have invested so much time and effort developing your opinion - done so much work that you are satisfied your opinion is correct - you run the risk of forgetting you are not the expert.
There's where the danger lies.
Socratic Intellectualism is not so popular today in our climate of suspicion of everyone and everything... but perhaps there is some wisdom here:
"...Only a fully accomplished expert in any field who can claim knowledge or wisdom of that field ... can train others to do the same...."
- The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Second Edition
The best colour for today is Quinacridone Gold.
Submitted by connie on Wed, 01/05/2011 - 16:16