Opinions

Question of the Day July 15, 2013 ~ Things that happen

What is your reaction to this quote?
“People are not affected by things that happen, but by their opinion of those things that happen.”

The quote is a little too simplistic, and it does capture the essence of something.

Reality is happening all around us every instant.

Every instant is a new happening.

Every instant does affect us, and mostly we simply accept those effects and move on.

So in that sense, we usually find it far easier to accept the reality of any instant, than we do the meaning we give to it.

Often we find it difficult to distinguish between the “what happened” and the “meaning” or “judgements” or “opinions” we bring to it. The default mode for most people is to go around considering that the world actually is as their opinions suggest. As a lecturer recently reminded me, when you have immersed yourself in a subject to the point that you are completely confident that you understand what is going on, then do the following exercise. Look at a mirror, and say to it, “I could be mistaken, I might be mistaken, I quite likely am completely mistaken” – and you could be right!

If some action seems unfair to us, then we are likely to be concerned about the unfairness – which is a judgement, a meaning, that we added to the situation. Without such judgements (opinions), we usually have no problem simply accepting what is.

Two quotes come to mind:

“Your opinion, and $3.50, will buy you a cup of coffee. Try getting the coffee without the $3.50 and you will see the value of our opinions.”

“There is no use arguing with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.”

So yeah.

Stuff really does happen, and some of it is really significant.

That is the nature of reality.

Accept it.

No point arguing.

And some of it can take a bit of getting over; particularly when we lose a pattern that is deeply embedded in our neural networks. Just because something or someone is no longer in reality, does not mean it is no longer in our brains, or the thoughts those brains bring to our attention.

It can take a long time to train a brain to a new reality, after a sudden change in the old one. Brains don’t change quickly, they take a long time to adapt, and they do adapt.

[followed by]

Hi OM Mend et al,

I find it interesting the transformation that has occurred in the term apathy.

Originally it referred to a kind of mental discipline that was without pathos (pity/sadness).

The Stoics were very teleological in their outlook – everything had a purpose, nothing simply was. I find it an interesting philosophy, and it certainly has had a huge effect in terms of social influence, and the errors are clear from today’s scientific perspective (both ontological and epistemological).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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