Opening up our opinions
Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week.
Opinions, the lowest form of knowledge
It’s challenging right now, to challenge our own opinions. Blame, finger-pointing and name-calling help us feel not only that we’re in control, but that we’re right. Often an inflated form of currency in the knowledge economy, opinions generally lack the critical thinking and counterarguments to take to the bank.
How can we ensure we’re doing the work to hold our opinions?
Write down an opinion you’ve recently espoused.
Consider: the source of the facts founding your opinion and who may be profiting from spreading this sentiment
Practice: seeking out someone with an opposing opinion and approaching a conversation with genuine curiosity
Decide to: understand and embed the counterargument within your argument
The fragility of opinion formation in a complex world
The growing popularity of unreliable opinions — which is especially dangerous during global emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic — calls for a deeper investigation of the possible drivers behind the process whereby individuals form opinions in a society. A recent research article published in Nature explored how opinion inconsistency and instability increase with the world’s complexity. The findings imply that an individual who initially trusts a few credible information sources may end up trusting the deceptive ones even if only a small number of trust relations exist between the credible and deceptive sources. Researchers Matúš Medo, Manuel S. Mariani & Linyuan Lü found that an increase in ill-formed opinions can be prevented by suitably expanding the observer’s initial amount of information. Wider information sources and productive discussions must be intentionally sought to combat algorithmic clustering and confirmation bias.
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This week let’s open our minds rather than opining them!
Love your Mondays.