Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quote of the week #2

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Marcus Aurelius


I like this quote, since a lot of people don’t seem to recognize that there are different opinions on things they consider as a fact. I think it is always a good way to stay open-minded and to try to understand the other perspectives.

My aim is to post one quote every Sunday that somehow refers to the previous week. I also hope it inspires some people to think about the referred topic. 
Based on a controversy I had a few days ago, today’s topic is about opinions, or rather differences in opinions.
I was having a few arguments with a family member this week, who couldn’t accept me being of another opinion concerning an important topic; the details are not of importance here. Anyway, when I was talking to a friend about it, his advice was to just agree with this person in every point. He said, when I know I am right, all I should say is “OK”. When someone is telling you that the colour of the sky is green, don’t tell him it is blue. Just agree, because you know you are right and disagreeing would just cause troubles.  
I see his point, but nevertheless I had to contradict.
This is just my opinion, of course.


Anyway, who determines what is right and what is wrong? When it comes to laws the answer is obvious, but what about other issues? After all, the problem is that both persons having an argument are convinced of their opinion being the truth. Even if it is obvious that you are right, is it really? It doesn't seem to be for at least one person.

In any case, I think it doesn’t make it any better to agree with someone when you think he is wrong, because this lets him feel confirmed in his thinking. In the following, I am using “the sky is green” as a metaphor for topics that are of greater relevance.
A family or even a whole nation is not able to perform in a good way if their members are not allowed to express their point of view. Just imagine the government told you that the sky was green and nobody disagreed. Imagine you’d get into prison if you told them your opinion. I know that this is happening all over the world and I know that it did happen especially in Germany. But look at this country’s horrible past (I don’t have enough words to explain how terribly shocked I am every time I just imagine it) and you can see what this leads to. People must be allowed to give an opinion without getting punished for it. This is even a human right, which you can find in Germany’s Basic Law now.
Everybody has the right to advance his opinion, as long as it isn’t illegal or a violation of human rights.

Maybe I should have differed in a more accurate way between politics and families, but is there really such a great difference?
Families do have their own rules, too. And I think since I am of full age, I should be allowed to say what I think without getting in trouble and without courting their resentment. Provided that I don’t hurt anyone with my opinion, which is certainly not my purpose.
Let’s say I am convinced that that the sky is blue and you are convinced of it being green. Why can’t we discuss it and if we still don’t agree in the end, we just accept the fact of being of another opinion? Wouldn’t this be a good way? And who knows, if you give me persuasive arguments, you might even persuade me to believe that the sky is green.

I am aware that all my above mentioned words are just another opinion. I am convinced by my opinion. However it may seem inconsistent to say that everybody should express his own opinion and that nothing is the truth, because isn’t this just an opinion, too? So what if someone doesn’t agree?

I think you should always consider your counterpart’s point of view. If he has a different one, you should accept this. And you should try to continuously rethink your own point of view. Because after all, is it really possible that you are always right? Maybe the sky is neither green nor blue but purple? Or does it have a different colour for every human being? At the same time, if we are convinced by our opinion, we should definitely defend it using good arguments. After all, what kind of world would this be without opinions and people standing up for them?

But should we really agree on everything someone says in order to avoid a conflict? Can this really be a good solution?
In my opinion, it isn’t.

If you disagree about any of these thoughts, please feel free to tell me. I am always happy to broaden my mind.

10 comments:

  1. I can relate to what you wrote here. When I think I’m right, others might say I’m wrong. It's ok because I'm open-minded. We can have different opinions and can agree or disagree on certain issues. Whenever I disagree, I make sure I have the rationales for doing so. This is to enable me to stay firm on my stance and able to express my thoughts on it.

    During a debate, we listen to the speakers disagree to the opponents’ views while the other group justify their points. Well, we audiences, listen to them and I for one used to think both sides are either right or wrong. :)

    This is off-track a bit. In doing business, we always hear the phrase, “The customers are always right.” A fine strategy to keep customers coming back! Just my thought. :)

    I like the quote and your opinions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's great that you are open-minded and that you try to make sure you have the rationales for disagreeing. It would prevent a lot of injustice if everybody did that. I like your opinion.

      May I ask in what kind of business you are working?

      Thank you. :)

      Delete
    2. Good afternoon, Kleopatra!

      Thank you for your nice reply.

      I'm a career woman. :) I used to run a very small business once but work is taking too much toll on me and I decided to focus on my career. Killing two birds with one stone isn't an easy job.

      I hope that answers you. :)

      Delete
  2. I loved and agreed with a lot of what you said here. We all have opinions on almost everything the minute we wake up in the morning until we go back to bed. It is very important to listen to someone's point of view and I also feel that the other person should be willing to hear you out, especially if you have an opposing point to make.

    As for avoiding conflict, whether it be with family or friends, I think it is important to let the person know when they are wrong because by not doing so, your silence could be mis-interpreted as you validating what they have said or done. Once you have made your point, there is no need to spend hours trying to drive it home, they too have a right to agree, disagree or even take time out to think about what you have said.

    I have strong points of views but when someone else has given me good reason to change my mind, then I am willing and happy to do so. It's nice to hear what others have to say in life.

    This is such a good post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with what you say here.

      This is exactly the reason why I think you should tell them your opinion. But of course, you are right that they too have a right to agree or disagree. I think it is so important to listen to other opinions and I am glad to hear that you do. This is so important in life.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your great point of view and for your kind words.

      Delete
  3. nice blog checkout my latest blog at

    http://www.togetherfornature.blogspot.com

    feel free to leave a comment

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm!

    I see you have got the valuable opinion of two nice friends of mine, it makes my position more difficult to express what I think about agreeing or not regarding a subject, without repeating the same arguments Balqis, and Rumpunch wielded, even if in a great part I agree.:)

    As everything in life there are two ways to contemplate a situation, and now that we are in the age of Quantum Mechanics there may be many more, and suspiciously eleven sides if we follow the Super-string Theory, the scientific trend nowadays. But let's stay simple and look to the two sided possibilities.

    You may follow the factual side, where there are few opportunities to disagree, I mean: a table is a table, a chair is a chair, and so on. You may agree or disagree about beauty, honour, or what's a disgusting thing, but in the end the differences may be circumstantial, or the mere eye of the observer.

    On the other hand you can be under an intellectual stroke and think about this with a philosophical slant which, as all things philosophical are very complicated.

    Your example shows it: What colour is the sky? None!

    (See my post "Unreal" on Wednesday, March 25, 2009) :)

    It is not blue, nor green, nor purple, nor any colour. In 'reality' if you ascend into the sky, you will find there is no colour in it (this is factual in 'reality', I put it between quotation marks, because 'reality' is not as real as it seems).

    So much for opinions, as long as any point of view is practical in our factual world, it is worth to be considered as factual, even if we disagree with it.

    Any time one person gets an idea that support one's opinion over any other, if one is under the philosophical stroke, one should ask oneself where does it come from. There are many sources: culture, common uses, facility of achievement, etc.

    Then you must rest cuddling your opinion until you find a disagreeing one, when that happens you must dissect both, or all, if there are more that two, and redo the asking and building until you find a satisfying solution.

    Once you are satisfied you must remember that it is only your opinion, that the modelling concurs with the way your brain brings back your thoughts from your mind (if you think these are two separated things), or the way your brain/mind creates the modelling, if you think they are only one. Modelling which is not necessarily identical to the ways other minds and/or brains work.

    After all these ramblings I guess we must try to stay in the factual world most of the time, where we can get some anchor to our illusions in 'reality' since any other consideration is absolutely pointless, unless we want to become controversial or are in a philosophical conference.

    In Science, for all practical ways, we can be guided by Sir Isaac Newton, despite the brilliant demonstration of Relativity Theory of Albert Einstein.

    About opinions we should try to be pragmatic and find a factual one for each issue that let us propose it with well grounded arguments, so as to convince of its truthfulness. But once stated, if there is not reaction, or the answer is obstinate resistance to reason, my laziness prevents me to show more than my disagreeing, and not to show the mistakes of the opposition.

    As a closing remark, your post is great!

    I love to be carried away and drift into strange musings and thinkings, without purpose or aim. Thank you for letting me rant along the zany meanders of an unhinged mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is always a pleasure to read your opinions. :)

      It is true that there are two ways, but since I don't feel like I know enough about physics, my approach was a more philosophical one.

      There is actually nothing that I can add, you have said everything that is important.

      Thank you! I love reading your comments, they always make me reflect the topic in some new way.


      Delete
  5. Love the way you choose the words to describe the quote....Untony's already said the rest..keep on posting.

    ReplyDelete