December 27

Today's quotation:

All of us necessarily hold many casual opinions that are
ludicrously wrong simply because life is far too short
for us to think through even a small fraction
of the topics that we come across.

Julian Simon

Today's Meditation:

It's interesting to see how many people are "experts" on so many topics that they've never actually researched.  Even though none of us have the time to be truly expert in more than two or three topics, we tend to think that we know all we need to know about things simply because we've heard someone else say something about them.

And so what?  What's wrong with this?  Isn't it just a question of claiming to know something we don't?  And how can that harm us?

If we hold these casual opinions that are wrong and make no attempt to find out what's actually right, then we're losing an opportunity to learn something that could be very important to us.  And in many situations, stating these casual opinions can prove to be harmful when someone takes us at our word, when someone believes us and trusts us because we come across as knowing more than we actually do.

The most important thing that we can do is acknowledge that much of what we think we know is simply second- or third-hand knowledge that may or may not be right.  If we can acknowledge this fact, then we may be more careful with how we present information to others and how we present ourselves to them, too.  It's not necessary to know everything, and the words "I don't know" can be very useful in helping us learn and develop credibility with others.

Questions to consider:

How do we develop casual opinions that are simply wrong?

What messages do we send to others when we express those opinions as fact?

Why do we feel it's important to be seen as experts on so many different things?

For further thought:

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves,
or we know where we can find information on it.

Samuel Johnson


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