595: Different Views

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Lots of people like to claim fact to support their opinion, and that is generally a good thing – having factual support for the opinion that you hold. It does not, however, mean that your opinion is correct because you have a fact (or several) to cite.

Facts are data. Your opinion is your interpretation of how that fact came into being (cause), your opinion on how that fact has applied (effect) to the situation, and your opinion on how best to ameliorate that fact or situation you think it applies to (solution). Once you state your fact, everything else you spout is opinion. Understand that truth. Even if you have historical precedent that your opinion worked out one way in the past, it does not always mean that it will work out that way now, in the present.

Two people can see the same fact and interpret it widely differently based on the filters, experience, education, and logic they bring with them to interpret those facts, which they use to form their opinions.

Therein lies the rub, particularly when the issues that are being discussed are political ones, or social issues. Those are not simple issues, in part because they affect people of widely differing values, cultures, and circumstances. A solution that works for one segment of the population disenfranchises other segments – a truth that continually evades lawmakers.

I am apparently among the very small minority of people who can respect someone whose opinion differs from mine. I still do not think they are correct, but I can respect that they have some basis for their opinion in fact – exactly like I do. Even when I think they are completely wrong, and they have no basis in fact that I can determine, they are still a human being entitled to their opinion – exactly like I am. YES, it is best if opinions can be formed with factual bases, but understand even when they ARE, we can still legitimately differ in our opinions.

And *I* can respect that.

 

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575: Questioning the Divide

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When there is a difference of opinion, there is a divide between us.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The distance is less of a problem than it is a safety net.

When my explanations to you are met with dismissal, and you can only keep expounding your views (which views I disagree with), that divide becomes more and more a safety zone

instead of an intellectual difference – a divide I increasingly wish to never, ever cross.

I don’t ask you what your reasons are. I believe that I understand them, and I respect that you hold those views – and I respect YOU. I have not challenged you to change your views with my facts (which you discount as valid, anyway). WHY are you compelled to challenge me?

I can love you without having to agree with you on every issue.

Why do you say hurtful things to me when you are frustrated that I have not come around to your way of thinking? When I retreat from you rather than continue to argue with you?

I do not insult you.

Have you come to the conclusion that those demons inside you that cannot be drowned (because they know only too well how to swim) must be desiccated to death in the desert instead?

I have

I don’t want to need so much safety

Please stop widening the chasm between us

439: It’s MY Opinion

I, too, have an opinion.

Sometimes there is research and experience that back up what I think about something

and sometimes it is what I think about something, period.

I don’t give a good rat’s ass what you think about what I think.

I think it, so there it is.

I have my reasons, and those reasons are sometimes nunyabizness.

You can think what you want to think (you do anyway)

and you can damn well leave me to think what I want to think, too.

If I am supposed to change my views (due to your reasons), then,

dammit,

you are supposed to change your views (according to my reasons).

If you don’t like that idea, then keep your mouth shut around me.

I will do my best to return the favor.

 

373: The Validity of My Opinion

I have an opinion. Based on facts or pure supposition, it is nevertheless my opinion. It is valid because it is my opinion – which does not make it a valid opinion.

EVERYBODY deserves to have their opinion. They are breathing, that means they are a real, live human being, and their opinions are theirs, and should be respected as their opinions. It is that whole free speech thing. Nobody qualified that free speech thing by saying that you had to have a clue. Even if that is very, very, very helpful when you form your opinions, it is not a qualification. If you want to support the Save the Fire Ants Fund, your opinion is your opinion (and so should your money be yours to do with as you please, too).

Once you are dead, unless you are a published author, your opinions don’t count for much (unless you continue to vote as a DemocRAT after your demise, like so many others have done). But I digress.

Just because you formed your opinion by reaching far, far up into your own bowels and pulling forth this shining gem of thought, does not mean it is not your legitimate opinion. That much is granted. However…..

…..when confronted by evidence that soundly refutes your shining gem of thought (derived from your own assholiness), you need to be grown up enough to be able and willing to change your opinion. Just because it is yours, does not mean it is perfect (some PARENTS need to read that one TWICE).

And you need to be able to do that changing of your opinion without ATTACKING the other person for their opinions – which are legitimately theirs as much as your opinion was yours. You don’t know – they might have consulted actual information in the formation of their opinions. It does occasionally happen.

 

300: Mining the Data

I never thought I would be one of those people who is fascinated with data. I mean, yeah, I read data, generally in someone’s opinion column where they interpret what the data means, and then I decide if their interpretation of the data is fair and unbiased (yeah, right) or leans heavily in one direction or the other (mostly what happens).

I dislike creating data of my own, even though we all do this everyday, we mostly just don’t record it. It is the recording of the data that is the sucky part. Have you ever had to write down every penny you spend every day as step one to creating a budget to live by? Yuck. Or, have you ever had to write down everything you ate for a week in preparation to making a real commitment to eating healthier, or starting a diet? RECORDING the data stinks. Especially when it is one of those afore-mentioned self-tracking things, because the conclusions you draw when you inspect and analyze your data tell you things about yourself you’d probably rather just not know.

Lately, however, I have discovered the data page on WordPress. This is seriously cool, and it records the data FOR me, so I don’t have to do it, I can just log on and view it whenever I want. MY kind of data. What it shows is that I am slowly coloring in the map of the world with people who live in various countries who have read at least one of my blogs. Jeepers, creepers, is that cool or what? It’s pretty exciting to log on and see another country colored in, meaning a person living there has read a blog.  ANY blog, I don’t care which one – it’s seriously cool beans!  If I ever color in the whole world, I am going out for dinner to celebrate. It’s THAT COOL! OK, I live a sheltered life, but hey – it’s harmless!

59: School – YUCK

I am a teacher by profession. That means that I have pretty much been in school for all my life. First, the one I attended for day care, then pre-school, Kindergarten and then ten years of formal schooling in the American public schools, and YEARS of collegiate enrollment which STILL is not over. If I am not working on the school I teach, I am working on the school I am attending.

Teaching involves pre-reading tha lesson material, designing lesson plans, creating lesson handouts and assessments, actually teaching them and conducting the assessments, grading the assignments and the assessments, recording the grades, and returning them to students, discussing them and reteaching when necessary. And that’s only the stuff dealing with the normal school day when no one is absent and has work to make up, or the administrative stuff I have to complete that goes along with running a school.

Being a student is far, far easier. I have to attend class, listen, absorb material (usually by reading), and produce assignments as requested by the deadlines.

However, I have been a student too long. I actually prefer the more difficult and time-consuming teaching rather than the easier learning mode. It is not that I dislike learning new things, as I do enjoy that, very much. I simply have had enough of the student personna. When you are the student, your goal is pleasing the professor so that you achieve a passing score in their course. Often, that means producing a piece of work that you may personally have no interest in. OFTEN. You do it because the professor wants it that way, and being successful at school is the ability to meet the demands of the teacher, to THEIR satisfaction. Probably explains why Einstein sucked at it.

That is the aspect of being a learner that I dislike. I don’t like feeling like I have to toe the philosophical line of someone else’s convictions. And it is far too easy to discern where the professor camps their tent when there is a debate, or more than one point of view, on any particular issue. And frankly, it is not worth the cost of the tuition I paid, not to mention the trouble, of espousing a point of view contrary to the prevailing one (read: the professor’s). I dislike having to retake courses and repay tuition, especially since it is same song, second verse. It is much easier to wait to have a personal opinion until after I have earned the institution’s stupid degree, which is all the employers are looking for: those letters after your name. Once you HAVE a PhD, you can disagree all you like; in fact, there then is some cachet in disagreeing. Until then, you are taking your life in your hands.

And I now have only a few more months of student-hood to suffer through, and I DO mean suffer. My doctoral concept paper committee at the University has said that my proposed research study design does not have enough participants, in spite of the fact that very few of my reference studies hold their research in various locations (most had ONE, like mine) or have many participants (MANY had fewer than I am proposing). And this is like I can magically produce elementary schoolchildren who are willing to participate in my study. All I can do is ask, which I have been doing for  months. But, like  many other stupid professors I have been under (apt mental picture) they want what they want, for the reasons they want it. This means that for the third time, I must redesign and re-research a completely new dissertation research topic. Suffer. Suffer. Suffer.

And when and if I ever actually complete this degree, there is no inducement on this Earth that will tempt me to attend the graduation ceremony. MAIL ME the stupid piece of paper. And no one will EVER see that diploma on my wall – I will photocopy it when I need to prove to an employer that I have it. It has totally LOST any shine, gleam or glimmer of attractiveness it ever held for me. The only attraction it might still hold is the fact that I will earn a little extra money WITH the degree than I now do performing the exact same job without the degree. That’s about it.