We, as a society, are in a moment where opinions are only valid if they are presented to us by experts. In religion as well as new age movements, we have ‘experts’ pronouncing to be apostles, prophets, the beacon of hope and reason. In major fields such as science, some individuals are saying to be the science itself. And those in power, the protectors of the common good. But what makes an expert in a field? Are these “experts” because they have indebted themselves through loans to acquire a degree of higher learning? Are these individuals considered “experts” because society has “trusted” their persuasive speech? Or are they an expert because their opinion has impregnated an individual or their worldview to confirm their doubts, beliefs, or perhaps, to thynk different?
Throughout my life, I have had healthy debates on a plethora of topics. Many people cringe or become uncomfortable on certain topics; some perhaps wish they would have never raised the topic in the first place. May it be religion, philosophy, literature, sex, drugs, music, sports, and politics -of course- I will be curious enough to converse on these topics, not as an expert but as a curious mynd, wondering, hoping to see others point-of-view.
Now, having a conversation from debating are two different things. I can accept a jest with facts but be ready to receive a punch of truth with a sarcastic retort, which many tend to take to offense. (How I enjoy healthy banter).
If individuals decide to take the route from having a conversation to a debate on the listed topics above, then, as a good spartan or roman would, I gear up, and head into battle. Praying to the gods of Jupiter and mars, thynking the spirit of either Gaius Julius Caesar or Marc Anthony comes over me and slaughter this poor lamb as a sacrifice to them. Why such a warlike mentality, you may be asking? Debates are meant to test ideas constructively. Debate is a medium to elevate which idea will survive while the other has bled to death after being thrust with the sword of truth.
Yet, and here comes the beauty of debating a formidable opponent: I have learned from many great mynds of the past and those who have taught me through dialogue with them through the years, what consist of a healthy debate, one must always, and I mean always respect the others point-of-view. The saying, “I guess we must agree to disagree” does have merit. Unless this statement is used as a white flag to be waived by your opponent, it tends to mean they have no other constructive argument that may be formidable against your opinioned mynd.
You must decide, as I have many times when this statement has been raised: do you thrust the final blow with the sword of truth by declining their offer, or take the humble olive branch, clean thy sword from the verbal blood spilled, and accept that your idea, like theirs, are equals overall?” for an introvert – as I have become to embrace this notion, it’s easier to keep the peace. But as the spirited conqueror that I am, The Pynk Elephant – only in debates do I take this attitude- I will thrust my sword of truth to end the argument by declining their offer and wait for their final gasp of breath as they render their idea as flawed.
Of course, the way I speak of debates above sounds very warlike to you, the reader, but debating is having a healthy conversation to sharpen maxims, axioms against another idea which may bring into question, ‘why you believe what you believe?’ – epistemology as it’s known in philosophy. If you cannot accept others who question your ‘why,’ then, perhaps, you are living in a glasshouse. One stone will shatter your fictional reality -yikes.
Therefore, what makes an expert? Why have we, as a society value an ‘expert’s’ opinion over others who search the matters out, are self-taught, skeptics who raise valid questions before drinking the popular kool-aid? Perhaps we have been subjective to programming and taught to follow the herd. Believing as a society, trained, conditioned since birth, to hold those in robes, white coats, those who possess higher learning degrees as the pedigree of exemplar as societies best. We must virtuously emulate them with honor and respect.
It’s no fault of our own, the great political scientist of the 15th century, Niccole Machiavelli wrote how men ‘give honor to the title’ more than one’s character, virtue. Now, I am not discrediting these “expert” or their opinions. I’m aiming to persuade you, pynk elephants who are reading this, an expert opinion only takes value if you, yes you, value their idea or theory. Once their idea has incepted your mynd, then you give it value by telling others what you have heard, learned, and even perhaps, research the matter out.
My respect goes to those who conduct the latter -searching the matter out. These individuals digest the idea first, let it marinate in their mynds before they decide to hold the opinion of an expert as a reference to validate their worldview, or embrace it as ‘truth’ before sharing it with others.
An Opinion is just that, an opinion. Opinions have no value unless they bring the public into critically thinking it has value before fully accepting it. An opinion by an ‘expert’ carries to the eyes of the public intrinsic value because man gives titles honor over the logic, the syllogism of the idea presented to them. To question an ‘expert’ will lead you to defend your ‘why,’ And people fear such quarrel.
In my life, I have honored experience over formal education. Throughout my adult life, self-educated individuals have had more respect for me than trusted institutions or those who are a tier of higher education; but this is me. I will not discredit an ‘expert’s’ opinion without just cause -here comes the rub: I will take an ‘expert’ opinion through multiple secondary opinions before I even share the value of the idea being presented.
So, to conclude this opinion piece, I hope you, pynk elephants reading this, be like the Thessalonians in the biblical tale of the book of Acts. These men, when the Apostle Paul came speaking to them of this Jesus Christ and his revolutionary idea -which became the cornerstone of the Catholic Church for centuries until the present -took Paul’s idea with a grain of salt. Like these men, you could either rejoice as they researched the matter of Paul’s idea or, like most, accept the idea presented to persuade public opinion towards a narrative to fit an agenda? Only you can make an opinion valid.