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BELIEF: It's All Just Opinion Anyway

(companion blog is here)

Introduced by "The Quotes".

"The opinion prevailed among advanced minds that it was time that belief should be replaced increasingly by knowledge; belief that did not itself rest on knowledge was superstition, and as such had to be opposed" - Albert Einstein

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible." - Bertrand Russell

"The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief." - Jacques Ellul

"The most violent revolutions in an individual's beliefs leave most of his old order standing. Time and space, cause and effect, nature and history, and one's own biography remain untouched. New truth is always a go-between, a smoother-over of transitions. It marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to show a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity." - William James


Questioning the quotes:

1) Albert Einstein: What is an "advanced" mind, and how do you measure it?
2) Bertrand Russell: Do you mean to imply that "Facts can be totally absurd and still be fact", -or- "anything totally absurd, in your opinion, cannot be a fact even if it is widely STIPULATED to be so."
Why do you assume a foolish belief cannot make sense? It just means it's counter-intuitive, doesn't it? It doesn't invalidate it.
3) Jacques Ellul: Beliefs are stronger (i.e. have a higher measure of entropy) than opinions. Concepts (such as 'propaganda') can have goals, just like people can.
4) William James: Change and growth, while seemingly painful at times, has relatively little overall effect. It's helpful to have a neutral, third party assist in personal transition of any kind.
'is' is such an invention, such a system.

I was watching the news last night, local, national and international, and was amazed at how many different ways I could interpret what was being reported if I just stopped listening for what I wanted to hear (or expected to hear) and listened for anything else.

Some of the following are my opinions, some are not.
Some may offend you, some may not.
If any offend you, what is the cause of the offence? The words I chose to use, or the sequence I put them in?



That's tragic that anyone should die so young.
Why is my country murdering its citizens, and so young too!
Another Canadian reported for work today, and put in a day's worked. Happened to get killed, but that's a known side effect of the job. No big deal, don't apply for the job if you don't want it.
Women shouldn't be allowed in the armed forces. They might get killed.
Chalk another one up for Women's Lib.
Should Canada be in Afghanistan?
Would this get as much publicity if she weren't female?
Why prolong gender bias on our daily news, we'll never reach tolerance if all the sub-texts are divisive.
We're only hearing the part of the story the government wants us to hear.
There's a conspiracy going on.
Look at the other soldiers drinking beer and getting free entertainment on my nickel.
Scandal uncovered. Troops in Afghanistan party while their co-worker is killed on the job.
Troops shouldn't be allowed to drink.
Every Canadian has an obligation to support the troops. We don't cut and run.
What if I'm not a militarist.
Patriotism equates to murdering citizens of other countries.
No citizen has the right to question patriotism. It's unpatriotic.
Citizenship is a privilege that must be defended at all costs.
Citizens have the right in a democracy to individual freedoms.
Individual freedom cannot trump democracy.
Democracy fails if it fails but a single citizen.
Democracy is impossible because a young chick got shot in Afghanistan yesterday.
She died for democracy.
Armies and troops, don't murder; only people murder.
Soldiers don't get murdered. They sacrifice.
Disagreement arises out of context of words, not words themselves.
I wish we had a dictionary of context, instead of just definition.
We do.


My point is that it doesn't take many "thought-steps" to move from one opinion/belief/fact to another.

The big focus should always be on those intermediate steps that are not spoken, but lie between each sentence that is uttered.

Therein lies the interpretation.

Therein lies bias, misinformation, information and truth.

Whatever truth is determined to be.

Truth is just agreement of opinion. So is fact.
Truth is simply what two or more people agree to be fact.
Truth is individual.
Truth is fickle.

Between each successive pair of statements following the headline, I could write a single statement which would an understandable (if not agreeable) statement of the type: If...it follows that...

Here's the rub.

I could also write a single statement which would be an understandable (if not agreeable) statement of the type: If...it does NOT follow that...

It all depends on what you believe.

What you believe to be the truth.

...and how many possible combinations of thought-flow paths there are through all the possible sub-texts.
...and how many of those possible combinations we agree to. That is a measure of threshold, which is the entropy of context.


This has got to be the most profound writing I have read all day. Thank you for your thought provoking insight.

PS: Don't be scared...love will find you if it hasn't already! (hugs)

Thank you... in every SENSE of the WORD!

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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