What Merits the Value of an Opinion?
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
Philosophy began as an opinion. In a free society, we are taught that our ideas matter. A person is given every reason to have an opinion without actually understanding what it means to have one. History is taken from the irony of the human experience. We constantly find ourselves at a crossroads. What can bring good brings bad. It is in our nature to justify our shortcomings through pitfalls of circumstance. A question of intentionality prosecutes the reason for action. As humans, it is in our nature to pursue avenues of recognition. A life deprived of meaning is an alibi to depression.
Wherever we look, there is information. It is not possible to avoid it anymore. For that reason, ignorance is increasingly becoming a matter of choice. Time again, we choose ignorance over intelligence without asking ourselves why. A margin of human error implies that perfection is illusory. We foolishly look for philosophies of perfection. The slightest form of error is enough to destroy hope in a better tomorrow. It can therefore be argued that ideas are as fragile as they are frugal. We sparingly attribute faith to an idea in anticipation of inevitable disappointment. That is indicative of man’s selfish inner narrative.
Our proclivity to cynicism underscores the many trepidations of history. In a way, we are allowed to excuse ourselves from believing in anything that is larger than the dimensions of self. When was the last time we had a renaissance? Information has never been as accessible as it is today, yet what are we doing with it? The fact of the matter is that we are consumed with the pursuit of boredom killing. We show no interest to anything beyond petty forms of entertainment. One hundred years ago, philosophers predicted the abolition of illiteracy as a means to end war. Yet, how close are we to such a horizon?
A high hope for humanity restores faith in what is possible. It all comes down to the relationship we share with time. Each person decides the outcome of their fate through decisions that appreciate the present. The surrealism of the human experience is something that overshadows our vanity. We never know what we have when we have it which is why we never know what we have once it’s lost. A society that bottoms form the top is designed to celebrate big people while ignoring the vulnerably weak. Power, in its slightest capacity, threatens the mind with vanity.
We are inclined to accept power in hopes of gaining recognition for the fruits of mind. In this case, a fruitful idea is treated as an original one. There is a law for this particular maxim which describes a reality that exploits the spoils of power for the power of spoils. It takes an astute mind to design a methodology for power. In a world where the victor takes all, the human intellect is used as nothing but a device for control. Once powerful, we accept elitism at the expense of our humility. That is where the decadence of man meets his ultimate folly. We begin to believe in myths that favor our infallibility.
When that happens, our opinions are no longer humble musings. Rather, they become benchmarks that set limits on what is known. It should therefore be no surprise to discovery why we have exploited information for alibis of power. That leads to one existential question: are people truly valued for their ideas anymore? We are inclined to think so, but if someone wanted to bring an original idea to the base of the establishment, would they be recognized or would they be swallowed by the system? It is all too evident, it is over for the little guy. Society is designed in a way where if you cannot beat them, you must join them, but at what cost does benign assimilation arrive to the integrity of our ideas?
Not every philosopher has the stomach to be an academic. Not every academic has the stomach to be a scholar. Not every thinker has the stomach to be an intellectual. The greatest volitions of man were articulated through his intuition, the most profound source of his intelligence. An intellectual underworld has descended on us and we have neglected it absolutely. It has taught us that in order to gain acceptance by the establishment, you need to be a crony or an accomplice to it. Does it have to be this way? Ideas are inextinguishable. No amount of censorship or destruction can destroy the foundation of an idea.
The quality of an opinion should be evaluated by its intellectual worth to the human condition, but that would mandate a universal appreciation of the big picture. The latter describes the greatest way to redeem the posterity of mind and the mind of posterity. Ideas will forever outlast the superficial establishment. Once that standard is reintroduced as a golden rule, the spirit of an intellectual renaissance will return.
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer and a social activist.
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