I’ve recently been wondering how I can battle the question of telling someone they are wrong.
This is very pretentious, but here I go:
As an economist, I’ve learned a lot about how the world works, both in the social human behavioral aspect (behavioral economics) and also in the way the world works in terms of products, supply, goods, money, people, countries, firms, etc. (micro and macro).
As someone who studies philosophy and humanities, I’ve also learned a lot about how humans work. There is no answer, but I’ve contemplated this probably more than the average 19-year-old. I meditate, I read every day, and I’ve studied great philosophers and theologians.
Needless to say, I feel like the past year, I’ve become way more immersed in the world than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve collected more knowledge, more information, more books.
And so when I hear people giving their “opinions” on a topic of debate, I can respect it. But at the same time, I also often hear “opinions” which are just flat out wrong. Full stop. No debate here. There is just no evidence to support the opinion.
We are all entitled to our own opinions. But we also must be open minded and subject to new information or evidence to help shape our opinions. Only with the willingness to be skeptical about the world can we learn and adapt.
Yet, I also think I need to take a step back and not be the one to tell people they are wrong. Especially if the person isn’t willing to be corrected–people don’t like to be wrong. I also have to be skeptical about my own knowledge.
And so if I choose to argue with someone who isn’t willing to have an insightful debate–people who are fixated on their opinions regardless of the evidence–then perhaps I am the idiot here.
The true idiot is someone who tries to argue with someone clouded in ignorance.
I know I sound super pretentious in this post.
But I have to be blunt.
Because if you have conversations with me, I hope you’ll understand: I don’t really care about being right or wrong. I care about understanding the world a little bit better than before we have our conversation. I love insightful debate. I love learning from other people. But I hope you’ll come into the conversation with me with an equal open-mindedness to learn from my perspectives, prior knowledge, facts and info from readings, and yes, opinions too. And I will also respect your opinion. But let’s get to a better understanding of the world–that’s the true objective. And isn’t that all we are trying to do in this world?