Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why must I have an opinion about anything?

I prefer to skip reading opinions whenever possible. Most opinions are biased or skewed and (thus) increase polarisation in societies. Opinions also tend to follow the click-bait-fight news cycle. Hence, I am careful to avoid writing opinions in my blog. Recently, I had this thought: why must I have an opinion?

There are several quotes (rightly or wrongly) attributed to the Greek philosopher Plato, like: “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” (source). However, I cannot find that one on Wikiquote.

In my view, Plato was right as (biased and/or skewed) opinions often tend to express ignorance. Actually, it’s hard finding unbiased opinions. Probably, opinions take sides – by definition. It may explain my (regular) choice of words: “I think, feel and believe that [..]”. That phrase shows a subjective truth.

Opinions have a habit of suggesting objective truths, while carefully avoiding mentioning that these are actually subjective truths. To me, that habit is highly annoying. My (eternal) doubt has resulted in few (strong) opinions. I prefer keeping an open mind in case new information comes along.

The (alleged) Plato quotes suggest that the habit of expressing one’s opinions has resulted in discontent for at least 2,000+ years. Why is that habit so persistent? It may relate to deeds, words & intentions.

In general, we do not know what other people think (eg, about us). Moreover, our words may not even express our intentions (eg, reverse psychology). Expressing our opinions may force others to show if they are inside our group of friends – or outside (and a potential enemy).

I wouldn’t be surprised if/when the click-bait-fight business model (eg, on social media) is (mis)used to identify friends and enemies. From the perspective of mass marketing, such information would be very useful (eg, elections). It would allow for targeted advertising, including spamming.

The identification of friend or foe (IFF) might be one of the oldest dilemmas of humanity. Opinions could be viewed as an ancient IFF system.

Friend or Foe (2005) by t.A.T.u.
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Are you friend or foe?
‘Cause I used to know

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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