Reflection vs Intuition And the Basis of Opinion

My theory, the former grow up and the latter keep their childish mental processes.

I play around on some online forums and Facebook discussion groups to discuss political and economic issues as well as tangential topics. A friend in one of those groups asked this question of one of the members:

Why is it James that others here can disagree and do so while holding a reasonable conversation and reading information being provided and answer questions asked of them, while you refuse to do either? Many here have disagreed, and it usually leads to everyone being more educated after reading their conversation back and forth, and it would be nice if you learned how to do the same.

Some people base their opinions on some semblance of data with which they can back it up even if it’s not entirely accurate; others, however, base their opinions on misinformation and a shallow understanding of things based on that misinformation. The former argue their positions because they have the tools to reflect on the topics. The latter cannot argue their well because they don’t really understand the source of their opinions outside of faulty, instinctual cognition.

The hardest part about standing by your principles is remembering what they are. When you base your principles on gut feelings, you and your principles become a hollow husk once you spill them out.


3 thoughts on “Reflection vs Intuition And the Basis of Opinion

  1. I can’t remember who said this to me or why, but I was told to remember that all writing comes with an implicit “I think” or “I believe” in front of every sentence. Now that I explain it, it was probably an English class lesson on removing “deadwood”, or unnecessary phrases and words from our writing.

    This probably stands for speaking as well. We don’t need to say that we think or believe something, because it’s implicit when we speak. There’s a vast cognitive difference between reading someone’s words with the impression that they’re convinced those words are absolutely true, and reading those same words with an implied “I think” in front of them. Recognizing this distinction in our own words is one key to healthy debate and disagreement.

    • I completely agree with this. I do wish people would recognize the more than obvious but often overlooked other side of that implied “I think” in conversation: their “I think” is not law and people tend to forget that. Having opinions is what everyone does, it’s perfectly natural. Regrettably, it is also perfectly natural to place higher value in one’s own opinions because they’re more personal to them and they have an investment in that opinion. When that opinion is challenged, the investor of that opinion should be figuring out whether that challenge has merit and whether it devalues that opinion or not. If it does, then the opinion should definitely be suspect. People tend to not think this way, however, and end up tightening their grip on that opinion, however flawed. They’ve invested in it too greatly to give it up, and it’s far too difficult to assess one’s own belief system from which that opinion sprang from.

      I’ve long lost my naïveté about discussion topics with people. I no longer believe that they recognize the implied “I think,” as too many truly believe that what they say is factual and grounded in reality. It’s nearly impossible to change anyone’s mind now that all someone has to do when their ideology or beliefs are questions is turn to their nearest like-minded watering hole and get a refreshing taste of whatever Kool-Aid they’ve been drinking. A closed mind is the hardest door to open.

  2. There is also the distinct possibility that a person actually does convey something grounded in reality. But how would we know that? I suppose the other giant problem is that some people need to be correct, or they need to at least change the opinions of other people to match their own. Insofar as they’ve accomplished this, they consider the interaction a success. If it hasn’t been accomplished, they either take it out on the other stubborn person or walk away from the discussion entirely. Debate is truly a skill, and one worth having.

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