TED Conversations

Thomas Hawkins

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Do we have an opinion about everything? If not, should we?

The ideas, questions and debates discussed here on the TED platform allow us to share opinions, answers and lots more.

What is it that makes us form an opinion? Is it something we do through choice? On what level of consciousness are opinions formed?

I chose the "Gotta Share" video as it was the last video I watched before I thought about this. Perhaps its the sharing with others that makes us opinionated? How we make our identity?



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    Apr 7 2013: Whenever I hear people consider the value of opinions I remember the late 80's and the pedestrian rhetoric about HIV and how it was only transmitted between homosexuals and i.v. drug users (along with a slew of other social myths). While not false not really true either.

    We all form opinions for different reasons. Some are struggling to convince themselves that they have a good grasp of their environment, others are trying to relate to their peers. When people take the time to formally present their opinions we begin identifying them as facts. Again, while not accurate I suppose one has to start somewhere.

    To the pedestrian developing an opinion about the risks of contracting a disease is almost more a matter of affirming their station in life, qualifying their sense of uprightness, than it is a practical method of reasoning. However to the tactician an opinion is barely an intuition. It's taking an instance of minimal evidence and using it as a temporary premise, a veritable bookmark for a better idea that's waiting to be run through the wringer of severe scrutiny. Of course there are the many instance of opinion as conversation piece but that's very different from the psychological event.

    For practical purposes opinions are a dream, a fantasy that makes things seem convenient and accessible. As to the level of consciousness that they occur on; that's extremely complex. Consider that they are both reaction and catalyst, buffer and advocate.

    This general inquiry has been thoroughly studied from a different approach but began: A) at a time of very high illiteracy and with extremely scarce methods of communication, B) competition for developing psychology as a therapeutic practice was being heavily leveraged in favor of kinda crazy people, and C) very complex.

    Informal opinions as a social function and a shared device, both communal and communicable, is a reasonable consideration but by no means the root of the propensity.


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