Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ways to be Right

Being Right

Most people like to be right. It's human nature. Some people tolerate being wrong better than others. I don't tolerate being wrong very well.

Consider that there is more than one way to be "right". Not only do I want to be right in that I can defend a particular viewpoint, but I want that viewpoint that I am holding to be correct based on all facts and evidence available.

Many people hold tightly to a viewpoint—no matter how foolish—to avoid being proven wrong. However, desperately clinging to a viewpoint that isn't supported by facts or evidence is another type of "being wrong".

Isn't it more "right" to change one's viewpoint to match the one with the evidence to back it up? I definitely feel this way. As much as I don't like to be proven wrong, I'd much rather change my mind to the correct point of view and accept the mild ego bruise of having my original viewpoint discredited.


Claiming someone is ignorant is not an insult. I am ignorant of many things and I admit this readily. One example is opera. I don't know very much about it and I don't like to hear it. I can't understand what's being said, I don't like the vocal style, and it really doesn't do much for me. Because I am ignorant of opera, I do not have the right to say "this is a bad type of music". I can, however, continue to hold my opinion that I don't like it.

For the sake of the argument, let's say an opera expert educated me about the genre. Maybe if I learned more about the amount of effort it takes to sing in the operatic style and if I learned more about the performance and the art of it, I would grow to enjoy opera.

When seeing the video to "Gangnam Style" for the first time, a co-worker made a comment to the effect of: "Wow! I always thought of Asians with glasses and being into books." This was an ignorant comment. This comment was not meant to be racist and it was not malicious: the comment was made by a nice, caring, and wonderful person. This individual has had very little experience with Asians in his lifetime and that lack of experience with other races resulted in ignorance. Obviously, education here is key as this individual's comment would likely be interpreted as racist by most.

The cure for ignorance is education. All viewpoints must be considered to be properly educated. All sources are biased in some way and to some extent. Sources may have guidelines that prevent all viewpoints from being considered so it is important to view as many sources as possible. It is only after careful analysis with an open mind when a properly-constructed viewpoint can be formed.