What is an opinion?

We all have opinions. We believe something to be true. Why? Some people claim to base their opinions on facts, but in fact they often base their facts on their opinions.

My father was bipolar. He was also a very intelligent man, but one thing that he seemed to miss was what might be called wisdom. He had strong belief in his opinions based on his view that he was very intelligent, but when he was in a manic phase he became more and more opinionated. Even I, as a child, could see that during these times his opinions weren’t worth much. Yet at those times he was more and more confident in his opinions.

That made me think and realise that everybody has an opinion and these opinions cannot all be right. If I’m right, then you’re wrong. I’m only one person, so the chances that I have the correct interpretation of facts is decidedly weak. So the chances are that my opinion is wrong, but you never know, I might be right about everything! I’m very suspicious of people who are very confident of their opinions. Perhaps they, like my father, have a psychosis of their own.

“I’m probably wrong.” That is how I approach every issue and that is why I get frustrated with myself when I’m hamstrung by my preconceptions and my prejudices. I want to have the right opinion not just the “right” opinion. There’s a lot of peer pressure on people to have the “right” opinions. If we’re out of step with one crowd or the other one we should analyse our motives and then decide. I recommend writing it down. Expressing your opinion certainly does give it time to mature and ripen. Then later I might find I’m actually right.

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