Forming Informed Opinions

Strongly held convictions run rampant on the internet and now pretty much every major media outlet we come into contact with is constantly spewing opinion after opinion, shaping the world around us. We have a natural inclination to pick those ideas up because they hit a spot in our hearts or the logic just seems to add up. What’s the problem with this? The answer is pretty straight forward, ignorance. Not everyone we know is going to be spewing off random information with nothing to back it up, but unfortunately too many of them are going to be talking from a place of false information, or a lack of any research at all.

Politics, religion, child-rearing, diets, schooling, medicine, even how much to tip a waitress. Or a delivery driver for that matter. As a driver, this matters a lot to me.

You bring this on yourself when you tip me less than 15%

I’m not too interested in getting into the details of my personal opinions on these topics (they will be mentioned, but not in detail), but I want to point out that while so many of these opinions are held, its very important to understand why you hold those opinions in the first place. Why do you hate Trump? Why do you hate Christianity? Why do you not support abortion? Why do you not vaccinate your children? Why do you hate the public school system? If the answer to any of these questions are quips that you’re repeating from news articles or the people in your life, there’s a good chance that if you were to actually do the research into these topics, you could possibly change your mind.

Honestly there’s nothing wrong with proving to yourself that you agree with a certain viewpoint, or finding out that you don’t. Ignorance may be bliss but we have to remember, it’s still ignorance.

I’m going to express my views in this post just so I can make a good example of how research and the pursuit of knowledge can change a person, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I am currently 26 years old but obviously when I was 20, I was a totally different person. I think we have all experienced this at one point or another in our lives, being able to look back at our past selves and seeing a clear difference between us “now” and “then”. But when I was 20, I was:

  • Vegan
  • Firmly pro-abortion
  • Pro-gay marriage
  • Wanting the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour
  • Anti-marijuana
  • Pagan
  • Pro-gun
  • Mostly Democrat
“I’m an adult. I know everything. I have it all figured out.”
-Every 19 year old, ever

Now that I’ve experienced a few more years of life and have taken the time to research things for myself, I am:

  • Eating meat, and not upset about it
  • Pro-life
  • Pro-gay marriage
  • Against raising the minimum wage
  • Pro-marijuana legalization (I still don’t personally smoke it)
  • Christian
  • Pro-gun
  • Conservative Libertarian

So, some things have changed while others have not but I’m also open to the possibility that some of these views could look completely different to me in 6 months. It really depends on what information I happen to find and how convincing it actually is.

There was a lovely quote I heard a few years back…

If a man looks at the world when he is 50 the same way he looked at it when he was 20 and it hasn’t changed, then he has wasted 30 years of his life

-Muhammad Ali

If you hate Islam but you’ve never cracked open a Quran, if you hate Hillary Clinton but you’ve only ever read about the worst moments of her career, if you think children should receive all of their vaccines on schedule but you haven’t taken the time to look at ingredients or statistics, or if you believe gluten is poison but you’ve never looked at any medical papers about it, maybe you should start analyzing why it is you believe what you do.

Let’s try to be a more reliable source for other people when they ask us for information. We don’t want to contribute to the spread of misinformation, but also it feels good to be secure in your own outlook on the world, to know that you aren’t just being emotional or irrational. Know thyself.


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