OPINIONS vs. KNOWLEDGE

Opinions are a poor substitute for knowledge.

If we don’t understand what we’ve learned we haven’t really learned anything, have we?

True knowledge results from asking questions of one’s self and then by doing the work. Asking others for answers is rarely an honest path to the truth.

When we ask others to provide a solution to our puzzle and in so doing are given new facts, we encounter certain risks. We are placing our trust in an undependable source. We are also giving them an undeserved influence over the most personal part of our lives, that private space which resides between our ears. We have appointed someone to assist in all future decisions. Their influence may reside within us for the rest of our lives even if that other person disappears, never to return.

As seekers of knowledge we as a species tend to cling to members of one of two basic groups:

Group (a) members prefer to seek solutions from testing, from empirical data mining and from their own efforts.

Group (b) people are more likely to seek answers from others of their own kind. The rewards for doing so are energy conservation and validation by the group. There appear to be no other substantial benefits and certainly no dependable knowledge is acquired in such transactions. This is how social systems are built.

Group (a) members possess greater access to knowledge but are basically studious types who spend much more time alone than (b) members. Though these (a) people don’t require as much validation as the (b) group, they do require a social life. They obviously have a much more difficult time in getting the social strokes they need because this group is almost immeasurably tiny by comparison to the much larger (b) group. The herd instinct is much more powerful than the curiosity instinct. That is not to say that this is an argument for being a (b) person. It is larger because of the mechanics of behavior. (b) types once established as such are very territorial and will go to considerable lengths to dissuade those friends and acquaintances from demonstrating (a) tendencies and to abort all self-indulgence in favor of the group.

Roger is an (a).Roger is also a member of a very large (b) group. Though he is often at intellectual odds with this group, Roger nevertheless places a high value on the group’s  high sense of ethical behavior. Roger withstood the group  pressure  by writing and publishing his ideas. he found it necessary to select his words carefully when in contact with most members of this group. His unique view are expressed  only when appropriate, taking great care not to criticize others for their methods of inquiry.

Roger questions everything.

Roger is a practiced non-conformist and regards this particular ethic as his highest calling. he .is frequently and probably unfairly described as anti-social and rebellious. “I am neither”, he says. “I simply intend to protect my brain from invading usurpers of reason.” (So there. ).

Roger goes on to say “I prefer to ask others for answers only if they are experts in that particular field. I then ask them for source material. Often the source material is freely offered. In this particular group the source material lacks objectivity. I do not disregard information in these materials because this is information built on personal experiences and difficult times and as such deserves at least my respect. It is possible for mutual respect to exist among people of varying points of view. Difficult yes, but definitely possible.”

empirical, influence, knowledge, opinions, puzzle, social pressure, social systems, solution, territorial

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