Mr Blinker happened across a pair of rose-colour tinted spectacles in a shop of knacks and tricks. Being a naturally curious fellow, he proceeded to try them on.
“Ooh! Such a splendid sight that these spectacles do serenade my eyes.”
Having accepted that the rose glasses might offer him a new perspective on things, Mr B quickly purchased them and proceeded on his merry until crossing the path of our amenable Mr T. After the customary exchange of mornings good and inquisitions of methods of being, the conversation proceeded thusly.
“My dear Mr T, you are looking somewhat horizontally tall this day.”
“Wh-what under the sun do you mean, Mr B? Surely you are not implying I am grossly overweight.”
“But I am! I am merely stating my observations. It is as clear as the elongated, trunk-like proboscis on your face.”
“I beg your pardon!”
“In fact I can scarcely believe I hadn’t noticed these aspects of your cumbersome existence before.”
“What has come over you, man?”
“Your reaction to my observations, Mr T, are quite congruous with your disgusting appearance.”
“I do not appreciate your sentiments! Good day!”
Such was the manner of their parting. Mr B clearly did not realise he was being tricked by his rose-tinted spectacles—quite the contrary. He was becoming increasingly convinced that they offered the correct view of the world, a development further catalysed by Mr T’s exasperations.
Mr B proceeded to meet other people who had bought similar spectacles to his at the fish market. At first he was puzzled that so many people would be crowded about carts of diseased and rotting fish scale, but glancing upon the contents through his glasses, he realised their apparently striking beauty.
“Excuse me sir! Is it just me, or is this fish scale extremely pretty?”
“Yes, it is. I come here a lot just to gaze upon it.”
“I notice you have glasses similar to mine.”
“Correct again sir! Is it not unfortunate that the rest of the world doesn’t wear our glasses? That they would remain ignorant of this hidden treasure?”
Our opinions and interpretations become like tinted glasses. With or without a reason for doing so, we adopt an opinion. Our opinion filters the massive river of information we encounter every day. With an opinion, we listen for information we agree with. This is a phenomenon with some research behind it. We are more likely to absorb the information and views of others we already share, and discount the information we disagree with. In turn, this reinforces our opinions. We ask ourselves, “who could possibly disagree with me if they had seen what I have seen?” Furthermore, we tend to socialise with people who share our opinions and beliefs. Not only are these people sources of information we are likely to pay attention to, but knowing of a group of many others that share an opinion is often enough to cement the opinion’s apparent correctness even further in our minds.
Rarely does there exist a crushingly overwhelming weight of evidence and popular support against an opinion sufficient to break the cycle and change minds. Mostly this is because people simply aren’t aware they are caught in a cycle.
Now, I’m not arguing against holding opinions at all. Some can be quite useful. Rather, be aware of their effects. Learn to challenge your own opinions and practice listening for value in everything you hear rather than only that with which you already agree.
For example, I do not agree with the Geocentrists in the slightest; I think their central opinion is incredibly obsolete and their model of the solar system is driven more by dogma than science. However, I also think that a geocentric approach is a valuable one for thought-experiment purposes, and sometimes certain calculations.
Here’s another, mostly real, example. I recently came to the opinion that certain friends of mine are mean and think I’m an arse. The mental reasoning went something like this:
“I suspect they think I’m no longer a nice person. Ah yes, they are not being amenable to friendly banter, conversation or hugs. I guess it’s true I’ve done a few off things in their presence, but did I really change that much? I apologised and made up. This isn’t fair. They must just be mean…ah look, even more evidence. And I remember that discussion we had (a conversation that, conveniently, reinforces the opinion further)…”
Of course this line of thinking is bullshit. I don’t really know what my friends are thinking, and in light of the above discussion, it’s obvious the thoughts are reflective of being selective in my choice of “evidence” to build a “case” as to why my friends are “acting cold”. Utter codswallop. Here, then, is an example of an opinion I would do well to dismiss, since it negatively affects how I interact with these friends.
The world is a much larger place than the one represented by any opinion. Everything is never as it seems.