Strong opinions, lightly held

Evelyn Rodriguez has written some great material lately. I really liked the title of her most recent post Strong opinions, lightly held.

Dogma is all around us. One definition of dogma: A tenet is that which is maintained as true with great firmness. I endeavor to do more to cast off my own dogmas from my mind than to defend against others.

Everyone filters and colors things according to their own perceptions and preconceptions and beliefs and agenda and conditioning. It’s safest to assume you never read or heard anything truly objective. Be doubly wary of anyone that believes they’re objective. But so what? I’m not exactly a big fan of extreme dogma myself but like Emerson I would find I’d be turned off every few minutes if I let it get to me. There is often some value to be gained if one bores through the dogma and drills a little deeper (yeah, heaps of sawdust is the main outcome once in a while).

Be willing to be influenced. Be pliable, be flexible, be open, be curious. Yet don’t buy into everything verbatim either. A friend told me that a motto of Paul Saffo, Director for the Institute for the Future, is: “Strong opinions – lightly held.”

Since reading the Wisdom of Crowds, I’ve been more conscious of the value of maintaining an open mind. I like blogs that take passionate positions, even if they’re not “right”. Even a crazed opinion may still have value as part of community intelligence. Actually, even if your opinions are rigidly held, they may still be ok! Paradoxically, so might weak opinions held anyway you please… I think the best thing to do is show and say more of what you really think, with whatever true vehemence seems fitting to you at the time!

2 thoughts on “Strong opinions, lightly held

  1. Evelyn Rodriguez

    Thanks! Yes, exactly my point. Too many people dismiss ideas because the person or their approach annoys them or rubs them the wrong way or is challenging to their made-up mind. But there is still value to be gleened from other viewpoints.

    I just watched “What the Bleep Do We Know” hybrid documentary film for the 2nd time.

    The filmmakers said that the interviewees didn’t necessarily agree with one another; the filmmakers didn’t necessarily agree with their interviewees and then the last sentence was the clincher: “Agreement is not necessary, thinking for oneself is.”


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