Why You Should Have Fewer Opinions

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I’m on an old man rant today.

The world’s a shitfest, and something needs to be said: Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and most are full of shit.

So, here’s my argument: people need to have fewer fucking opinions.

The Fallacy of Quantity Over Quality

In the good old days, people had more humility and respected that not everything was perfect. Authority was based on credentials and expertise. You had to earn the right to be heard. But now, thanks to the internet, everybody’s an expert on everything.

The problem is that we’re all drowning in information, and this overload causes us to mistake the quantity of knowledge for the quality of knowledge. And that’s where we all get into trouble—we pay attention to everything and believe that every opinion is worth considering.

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The Dunning-Kruger Effect on Steroids: Overconfidence Runs Rampant

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a psychological phenomenon that states that the less people know about a subject, the more confident they are in their knowledge. Conversely, the more people know about a subject, the more they doubt their knowledge.

It’s a weird paradox, but it makes sense: the more time you spend with a subject, the more aware you become of everything we don’t know and understand.

The internet magnifies the Dunning-Kruger effect. It allows anyone to post anything, anywhere, at any time, to be read by anyone. The result is an explosion of overconfidence and misinformation, making it difficult for people to navigate the sea of opinions.

The Danger of Low Expertise Opinions: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Having low expertise opinions is dangerous for two reasons. First, anything you believe can be confirmed with a Google search. It doesn’t matter who you are or how crazy your belief is, you’ll find something online that tells you you’re right.

Second, and more importantly, we’re now influencing each other with our misguided views. In the past, if you believed something crazy, it was your loss. Now, with all the outlets for sharing opinions, misinformation can spread like wildfire, making it difficult for people to know what to trust.

Tips for Navigating Uncertainty: Stay Informed While Keeping Your Sanity

  1. Seek out long-form content: Important issues are complex and nuanced, requiring in-depth analysis to understand. If it takes less than 30-40 minutes to consume, it’s probably not a good representation of the topic. Invest time in reading books, watching documentaries, or listening to podcasts that delve deep into subjects you care about.
  2. Pay attention to credentials (but not too much): Credentials matter because they represent the time and effort someone has spent studying a subject. However, be wary of outliers who go against conventional wisdom just for attention. The internet has its share of rogue experts who defy the majority to make a name for themselves. Be discerning.
  3. Have a good reason to go against conventional wisdom: If you’re going against the grain, you need to have thought through the repercussions and done your homework. Study the subject extensively, read opposing views, and make sure your position is based on solid evidence. Don’t rely on intuition alone.



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