The Daily Stoic for April 18th. “Opinions are like…”

“What is bad luck? Opinion. What are conflict, dispute, blame, accusation, irreverence, and frivolity? They are all opinions, and more than that, they are opinions that lie outside of our own reasoned choice, presented as if they were good or evil. Let a person shift their opinions only to what belongs in the field of their own choice, and I guarantee that person will have peace of mind, whatever is happening around them.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.3.18b–19

I like today’s daily stoic meditation. We all have opinions. One could argue that we are, in a way, the sum of our opinions. Is that true?

Perhaps. However, it’s also true that these opinions are shaped by religious or cultural dogma, our education, our childhood, our parents, family and friends, and a lot of times, ignorance, biases and prejudices too.

Some days ago, I wrote about how a perfectly beautiful rainy afternoon for me was seen as a curse for one of my colleagues at TechHub. None of us was right or wrong, there was just one fact -it was raining- and two completely different views about it.

During my lifetime, I’ve held opinions I no longer agree with. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, and now I eat meat. Sometimes I’ve voted conservative, sometimes I’ve voted liberal. Nowadays, I don’t vote at all. I’ve been the firmest patriot, but now I don’t really believe in borders and frontiers anymore.

What Opinions Are Like

As a result, I’ve never been afraid of changing my mind, or admitting I was wrong. Opinions don’t define who you are. Or, in other words, you are not the sum of your opinions.

There’s nothing wrong with opinions per se. Nonetheless, they can make us hate, disregard or hurt others. They can also make us love things for the wrong reasons too. Finally, they can make us deaf and blind about other opinions that are out of line with our own.

So I think today’s stoic meditation rises a very interesting question.

What if we let this opinions go?

No judgements, no good or bad, no opinions. Just observing the world. I have affirmed in the past that I can’t really agree with the Stoic teaching of not seeing things as good or bad. In my mind, some things are still objectively good or bad.

Nevertheless, this looks like a legit experiment for me.

What if I decided to stop making judgements or having opinions on things?

I think I am going to try that experiment for at least a week. I will let you know how that goes.

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “Opinions Are Like…” discusses how we stick to opinions to shape the world around us, and raises an interesting question: “what if we let this opinions go?”.

While I still thing some acts are either objectively good or bad, I have decided to give it a try. For a week, I will avoid doing judgements on things. Where this experiment will take me?

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