Opinions

Laura

Administrator
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FOTCM Member
The other day, a discussion was underway within QFG and the following exchange occurred:

QFG member #1

What jumps out at me about *****, and what I find interesting is that she
never really says she's sorry for anything. She does say "I might be
wrong" quite often, but she doesn't really seem to believe that herself
though.

QFG member #2

Yes, I've noticed this behaviour when trying to deal with our
psychopathic sales guy at work. Whenever I point out something that he
has done wrong, he ALWAYS respond with "well, we just have different
opinions about that" or "one can look at it in many ways". He will
NEVER apologize or say that he is sorry, because he will instantly
find "another way to look at it".

So "I might be wrong" is the mask of sanity essentially saying "from
your opinion that is what you think, and you're wrong". In a plastic
subjective moldable reality, opinions are all there is.
This is an interesting observation that catches my eye. How often do very
narcissistic people assert "well, that's YOUR opinion, and this is MY
opinion, and everybody is entitled to their own opinion."

What the heck IS an opinion, anyway?

Online dictionary sez:

1 a : a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular
matter b : APPROVAL, ESTEEM

2 a : belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive
knowledge b : a generally held view

3 a : a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert b : the formal
expression (as by a judge, court, or referee) of the legal reasons and
principles upon which a legal decision is based
In 1a, we see that an opinion is always subjective even if, by accident, it
MIGHT be objective. It is formed entirely within the mind of the person,
shaped and colored by that person's programming and reading instrument
distortions.

So here, "opinion" is a dangerous thing to have; and I mean dangerous for
the individual because it is an instrument of blindness.

In 1b we see that opinion as related to "approval" of some thing or idea, or
esteem of same, is closely connected to WISHFUL THINKING.

Again, an "opinion" and the "right to have one" is again, dangerous to the
individual.

In 2 a and b we see the same problems as in 1a and b with the additional
explanation that an opinion is based on belief rather than positive
knowledge of something. Thus it becomes a deeper trap of subjectivity and
wishful thinking.

Item 3 is not applicable here because it is a technical term, though
certainly it can be imbued with all of the above.

So, where did the idea come from that "everyone is entitled to their own
opinion" ? It begins to sound paramoralistic; a cheap shot at "democracy."

Looking at the root "opine," we get a truncated etymology:

Main Entry: opine
Pronunciation: O-'pIn
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): opined; opining
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French opiner,
from Latin opinari to have an opinion.
I wonder what the IE root might reveal?

Observations?
 

name

Jedi Master
from here
http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/
(stick 'opinion' in the "English Words" field)

Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon said:
Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon: Search Results
1 abhimAna m. intention to injure , insidiousness Ka1tyS3r. ; high opinion of one's self , self-conceit , pride , haughtiness ; (in Sa1n2khya phil.) = %{abhi-mati} , above ; conception (especially an erroneous one regarding one's self) Sa1h. &c. ; affection , desire ; N. of a R2ishi in the sixth Manvantara VP.
...
(there are about 40 answers)
see also what the protocols have to say re democracy and liberalism.
 

Keit

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FOTCM Member
On a funny note, there is a word in russian - "op'yanet'", means "being drunk" or "get drunk" or "intoxicated". "P'yanyi' " is a person who's drunk. I don't have an access to russian vocabularies right now, but I wonder what is the source of this word and if it has any connection to "opinion". Because when someone is drunk or intoxicated, he has a skewed perception of the reality/things around him, similar to a subjective point of view or wishful thinking. But this is of course my subjective point of view :)
 

Deckard

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
spot on
in most of the slavic languages that is the exact meaning of the word opijen - being drunk, intoxicated


and this is not at all funny, I am not a linguist but i know that certain words from two diametrally opposite groups of languages such as germanic and slavic can be traced to sanskrit root
for examle word brother in english,and brat in slavic come from sanskrit brahtair

this makes you wonder as having opinion is indeed similar to the state of being intoixicated

funny coincidence?!
 

Tigersoap

The Living Force
I think people have to start somewhere when they try to put some order into the world around them and having "opinions" is a starting point.

The problem I see is that few people will questions their opinions because it is the basis of their personality and it cannot be shaken by doubts.
Opinions take place of the real personality, I might say the objective one, and rule evertyhing this person does.
It is very handy to hide behind an opinion because it helps you not to think about it because it is somehow frozen in place.

Televison debates are a good example of this because most of the time it's just people expressing their own opinions about a given subject and the discussion ends up nowhere.
Worryingly, we see persons who actually use their opinions as facts thus they are able to influence people in one direction or another.
It also seems that it is very helpful to burry an objective comment through the "everyone is entitled to his opinion" filter.

But in some cases, like in this forum, it could be a mark of respect between people who know that their opinions are subjective until a common objective ground can be found.

Well that's my opinion and I am not sticking to it ;)
 

Laura

Administrator
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Moderator
FOTCM Member
Now that I started thinking about "opinions," which has, in the past, briefly attracted my
attention now and again because the "I have my opinion and you have yours"
thing is a real discussion stopper, I want to focus on it. Usually, it seems, when someone says
that it really means "I believe this or that and don't bother me with any
facts."

I decided to search ISOTM for any remarks that Gurdjieff might have made
about "opinions." Here is the first bit:

"Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings,
convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences,
external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought,
a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels-all this happens.
Man cannot discover anything, invent anything. It all happens.

"To establish this fact for oneself, to understand it, to be convinced of
its truth, means getting rid of a thousand illusions about man, about his
being creative and consciously organizing his own life, and so on. There is
nothing of this kind. Everything happens-popular movements, wars,
revolutions, changes of government, all this happens. And it happens in
exactly the same way as everything happens in the life of individual man.
Man is born, lives, dies, builds houses, writes books, not as he wants to,
but as it happens. Everything happens. Man does not love, hate, desire-all
this happens.

"But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is
the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. It is
particularly unpleasant and offensive because it is the truth, and nobody
wants to know the truth.
Now, of course, it is interesting that what we talk about as "subjective" is
actually what Gurdjieff describes as "external influences" that simply
trigger in him reactions according to programs and buffers.

Next use of the word opinion in ISOTM:

"Then one must learn to speak the truth. This also appears strange to
you. You do not realize that one has to learn to speak the truth. It seems
to you that it is enough to wish or to decide to do so. And I tell you that
people comparatively rarely tell a deliberate lie. In most cases they think
they speak the truth. And yet they lie all the time, both when they wish to
lie and when they wish to speak the truth. They lie all the time, both to
themselves and to others.

Therefore nobody ever understands either himself or anyone else.

Think-could there be such discord, such deep misunderstanding, and such
hatred towards the views and opinions of others, if people were able to
understand one another?

But they cannot understand because they cannot help lying. To speak the
truth is the most difficult thing in the world; and one must study a great
deal and for a long time in order to be able to speak the truth. The wish
alone is not enough. To speak the truth one must know what the truth is and
what a lie is, and first of all in oneself And this nobody wants to
know."
This next one is one that the text search pulled up, but it is used by
Ouspensky. BUT, it leads into some very useful comments by Gurdjieff which
actually pertain to the subject of "opinions":

G'S LECTURES led to many talks in our groups. There was still a good
deal that was not clear to me, but , many things had become connected and
one thing often quite unexpectedly explained another which seemed to have no
connection with it whatever. Certain parts of the system had already begun
vaguely to take shape, like figures or a landscape which gradually appears
in the developing of a photographic plate, but many places still remained
blank and incomplete. At the same time many things were contrary to what I
expected. Only I tried not to come to conclusions but wait. Often one new
word that I had not heard before altered the whole picture and I was obliged
to rebuild for myself everything I had built up before. I realized very
clearly that a great deal of time must pass before I could tell myself that
I could outline the whole system correctly. And it was very strange for me
to hear how people, after having come to us for one lecture, at once
understood what we were talking about, explained it to others, and had
completely settled and definite opinions about us. I must confess that, at
such times, I often recalled my own first meeting with G. and the evening
with the Moscow group. I also, at that time, had been very near passing a
ready judgment on G. and his pupils. But something had stopped me then. And
now, when I had begun to realize what a tremendous value these ideas had, I
became almost terrified at the thought of how easily I could have passed
them by, how easily I could have known nothing whatever of G.'s existence,
or how easily I could have again lost sight of him if I had not asked then
whether I could see him again.

In almost every one of his lectures G. reverted to a theme which he
evidently considered to be of the utmost importance but which was very
difficult for many of us to assimilate.

"There are," he said, "two lines along which man's development proceeds, the
line of knowledge and the line of being. In right evolution the line of
knowledge and the line of being develop simultaneously, parallel to, and
helping one another. But if the line of knowledge gets too far ahead of the
line of being, or if the line of being gets ahead of the line of knowledge,
man's development goes wrong, and sooner or later it must come to a
standstill. [...]

"If knowledge gets far ahead of being, it becomes theoretical and abstract
and inapplicable to life, or actually harmful, because instead of serving
life and helping people the better to struggle with the difficulties they
meet, it begins to complicate man's life, brings new difficulties into it,
new troubles and calamities which were not there before.

"The reason for this is that knowledge which is not in accordance with being
cannot be large enough for, or sufficiently suited to, man's real needs. It
will always be a knowledge of one thing together with ignorance of another
thing; a knowledge of the detail without a knowledge of the whole; a
knowledge of the form without a knowledge of the essence.

"Such preponderance of knowledge over being is observed in present-day
culture. The idea of the value and importance of the level of being is
completely forgotten. And it is forgotten that the level of knowledge is
determined by the level of being. Actually at a given level of being the
possibilities of knowledge are limited and finite. Within the limits of a
given being the quality of knowledge cannot be changed, and the accumulation
of information of one and the same nature, within already known limits,
alone is possible. A change in the nature of knowledge is possible only with
a change in the nature of being.
Another series of comments by Ouspensky that refer to an "opinion" which
bears on our subject here:

I was struck by the difference between the understanding of the people
who belonged to our groups and that of people outside them. The people who
belonged to our groups understood, though not all at once, that we had come
into contact with a "miracle," and that it was something "new," something
that had never existed anywhere before.

The other people did not understand this; they took it all too lightly and
sometimes they even began to prove to me that such theories had existed
before.

A. L. Volinsky, whom I had often met and with whom I had talked a great deal
since 1909 and whose opinions I valued very much, did not find in the idea
of "selfremembering" anything that he had not known before.

"This is an apperception." He said to me, "Have you read Wundt's Logic? You
will find there his latest definition of apperception. It is exactly the
same thing you speak of. 'Simple observation' is perception. 'Observation
with self-remembering,' as you call it, is apperception. Of course Wundt
knew of it."

I did not want to argue with Volinsky. I had read Wundt. And of course what
Wundt had written was not at all what I had said to Volinsky. Wundt had come
close to this idea, but others had come just as close and had afterwards
gone off in a different direction. He had not seen the magnitude of the idea
which was hidden behind his thoughts about different forms of perception.
And not having seen the magnitude of the idea he of course could not see the
central position which the idea of the absence of consciousness and the idea
of the possibility of the voluntary creation of this consciousness ought to
occupy in our thinking. Only it seemed strange to me that Volinsky could not
see this even when I pointed it out to him.

I subsequently became convinced that this idea was hidden by an impenetrable
veil for many otherwise very intelligent people-and still later on I saw why
this was so.
The following is one of Gurdjieff's talks where the word opinions appears as
I am considering it and it is WELL WORTH reviewing!:

G. began the next talk as follows: "Man's possibilities are very great.
You cannot conceive even a shadow of what man is capable of attaining. But
nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consciousness of a sleeping man his
illusions, his 'dreams' are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective
world and he can never escape from it. And this is the reason why he can
never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he always lives in
only a small part of himself.

"It has been said before that self-study and self-observation, if rightly
conducted, bring man to the realization of the fact that something is wrong
with his machine and with his functions in their ordinary state. A man
realizes that it is precisely because he is asleep that he lives and works
in a small part of himself. It is precisely for this reason that the vast
majority of his possibilities remain unrealized, the vast majority of his
powers are left unused. A man feels that he does not get out of life all
that it can give him, that he fails to do so owing to definite functional
defects in his machine, in his receiving apparatus. The idea of self-study
acquires in his eyes a new meaning. He feels that possibly it may not even
be worth while studying himself as he is now. He sees every function as it
is now and as it could be or ought to be. Self-observation brings man to the
realization of the necessity for self-change. And in observing him self a
man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his
inner processes. He begins to understand that self-observation is an
instrument of selfchange, a means of awakening. By observing himself he
throws, as it were, a ray of light onto his inner processes which have
hitherto worked in complete darkness. And under the influence of this light
the processes themselves begin to change. There are a great many chemical
processes that can take place only in the absence of light. Exactly in the
same way many psychic processes can take place only in the dark. Even a
feeble light of consciousness is enough to change completely the character
of a process, while it makes many of them altogether impossible. Our inner
psychic processes (our inner alchemy) have much in common with those
chemical processes in which light changes the character of the process and
they are subject to analogous laws.

"When a man comes to realize the necessity not only for self-study and self
observation but also for work on himself with the object of changing
himself, the character of his self-observation must change. He has so far
studied the details of the work of the centers, trying only to register this
or that phenomenon, to be an impartial witness. He has studied the work of
the machine. Now he must begin to see himself, that is to say, to see, not
separate details, not the work of small wheels and levers, but to see
everything taken together as a whole-the whole of himself such as others see
him.

"For this purpose a man must learn to take, so to speak, 'mental
photographs' of himself at different moments of his life and in different
emotional states: and not photographs of details, but photographs of the
whole as he saw it. In other words these photographs must contain
simultaneously everything that a man can see in himself at a given moment.
Emotions, moods, thoughts, sensations, postures, movements, tones of voice,
facial expressions, and so on. If a man succeeds in seizing interesting
moments for these photographs he will very soon collect a whole album of
pictures of himself which, taken together, will show him quite clearly what
he is. But it is not so easy to learn how to take these photographs at the
most interesting and characteristic moments, how to catch characteristic
postures, characteristic facial expressions, characteristic emotions, and
characteristic thoughts. If the photographs are taken successfully and if
there is a sufficient number of them, a man will see that his usual
conception of himself, with which he has lived from year to year, is very
far from reality.

"Instead of the man he had supposed himself to be he will see quite another
man. This 'other' man is himself and at the same time not himself. It is he
as other people know him, as he imagines himself and as he appears in his
actions, words, and so on; but not altogether such as he actually is. For a
man himself knows that there is a great deal that is unreal, invented, and
artificial in this other man whom other people know and whom he knows
himself. You must learn to divide the real from the invented. And to begin
self-observation and self-study it is necessary to divide oneself. A man
must realize that he indeed consists of two men.

"One is the man he calls 'I' and whom others call 'Ouspensky,' 'Zakharov' or
'Petrov.' The other is the real he, the real I, which appears in his life
only for very short moments and which can become firm and permanent only
after a very lengthy period of work.

"So long as a man takes himself as one person he will never move from where
he is. His work on himself starts from the moment when he begins to feel two
men in himself. One is passive and the most it can do is to register or
observe what is happening to it. The other, which calls itself 'I,' is
active, and speaks of itself in the first person, is in reality only
'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov' or 'Zakharov.'

"This is the first realization that a man can have. Having begun to think
correctly he very soon sees that he is completely in the power of his
'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov,' or 'Zakharov.' No matter what he plans or what he
intends to do or say, it is not 'he,' not 'I,' that will carry it out, do or
say it, but his 'Ouspensky' 'Petrov,' or 'Zakharov,' and of course they will
do or say it, not in the way 'I' would have done or said it, but in their
own way with their own shade of meaning, and often this shade of meaning
completely changes what 'I' wanted to do.

"From this point of view there is a very definite danger arising from the
very first moment of self-observation. It is 'I' who begins self-
observation, but it is immediately taken up and continued by 'Ouspensky,'
'Zakharov,' or 'Petrov.' But 'Ouspensky' 'Zakharov,' or 'Petrov' from the
very first steps introduces a slight alteration into this self-observation,
an alteration which seems to be quite unimportant but which in reality
fundamentally alters the whole thing.

"Let us suppose, for example, that a man called Ivanov hears the description
of this method of self-observation. He is told that a man must divide
himself, 'he' or 'I' on one side and 'Ouspensky,' 'Tetrov,' or 'Zakharov' on
the other side. And he divides himself literally as he hears it. 'This is
I,' he says, 'and that is "Ouspensky," "Petrov," or "Zakharov."' He will
never say 'Ivanov.' He finds that unpleasant, so he will inevitably use
somebody else's surname or Christian name. Moreover he calls 'I' what he
likes in himself or at any rate what he considers to be strong, while he
calls 'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov,' or 'Zakharov' what he does not like or what he
considers to be weak. On this basis he begins to reason in many ways about
himself, quite wrongly of course from the very beginning, since he has
already deceived himself in the most important point and has taken not his
real self, that is, he has taken, not Ivanov, but the imaginary 'Ouspensky,'
'Petrov' or 'Zakharov.'

"It is difficult even to imagine how often a man dislikes to use his own
name in speaking of himself in the third person. He tries to avoid it in
every possible way. He calls himself by another name, as in the instance
just mentioned; he devises an artificial name for himself, a name by which
nobody ever has or ever will call him, or he calls himself simply 'he,' and
so on. In this connection people who are accustomed in their mental
conversations to call themselves by their Christian name, or surname or by
pet names are no exception. When it comes to self-observation they prefer to
call themselves 'Ouspensky' or to say 'Ouspensky in me,' as though there
could be an 'Ouspensky' in them. There is quite enough of 'Ouspensky' for
Ouspensky himself.

"But when a man understands his helplessness in the face of 'Ouspensky' his
attitude towards himself and towards 'Ouspensky' in him ceases to be either
indifferent or unconcerned.

"Self-observation becomes observation of 'Ouspensky' A man understands that
he is not 'Ouspensky,' that 'Ouspensky' is nothing but the mask he wears,
the part that he unconsciously plays and which unfortunately he cannot stop
playing, a part which rules him and makes him do and say thousands of stupid
things, thousands of things which he would never do or say himself.

"If he is sincere with himself he feels that he is in the power of
'Ouspensky' and at the same time he feels that he is not 'Ouspensky.'

"He begins to be afraid of 'Ouspensky,' begins to feel that he is his
'enemy.' No matter what he would like to do, everything is intercepted and
altered by 'Ouspensky.' 'Ouspensky' is his 'enemy.' 'Ouspensky's' desires,
tastes, sympathies, antipathies, thoughts, opinions, are either opposed to
his own views, feelings, and moods, or they have nothing in common with
them. And, at the same time, 'Ouspensky' is his master. He is the slave. He
has no will of his own. He has no means of expressing his desires because
whatever he would like to do or say would be done for him by 'Ouspensky.'

"On this level of self-observation a man must understand that his whole aim
is to free himself from 'Ouspensky.' And since he cannot in fact free
himself from 'Ouspensky,' because he is himself, he must therefore master
'Ouspensky' and make him do, not what the 'Ouspensky' of the given moment
wants, but what he himself wants to do. From being the master, 'Ouspensky'
must become the servant.

"The first stage of work on oneself consists in separating oneself from
'Ouspensky' mentally, in being separated from him in actual fact, in keeping
apart from him. But the fact must be borne in mind that the whole attention
must be concentrated upon 'Ouspensky' for a man is unable to explain what he
himself really is. But he can explain 'Ouspensky' to himself and with this
he must begin, remembering at the same time that he is not 'Ouspensky,'

"The most dangerous thing in this case is to rely on one's own judgment. If
a man is lucky he may at this time have someone near him who can tell him
where he is and where 'Ouspensky' is. But he must moreover trust this
person, because he will undoubtedly think that he understands everything
himself and that he knows where he is and where 'Ouspensky' is. And not only
in relation to himself but in relation also to other people will he think
that he knows and sees their 'Ouspenskys.' All this is of course self-
deception. At this stage a man can see nothing either in relation to
himself or to others. The more convinced he is that he can, the more he is
mistaken. But if he can be even to a slight extent sincere with himself and
really wants to know the truth, then he can find an exact and infallible
basis for judging rightly first about himself and then about other people.
But the whole point lies in being sincere with oneself. And this is by no
means easy. People do not understand that sincerity must be learned. They
imagine that to be sincere or not to be sincere depends upon their desire or
decision. But how can a man be sincere with himself when in actual fact he
sincerely does not see what he ought to see in himself? Someone has to show
it to him. And his attitude towards the person who shows him must be a right
one, that is, such as will help him to see what is shown him and not, as
often happens, hinder him if he begins to think that he already knows
better.

"This is a very serious moment in the work. A man who loses his direction at
this moment will never find it again afterwards.
It must be remembered that
man such as he is does not possess the means of distinguishing 'I' and
'Ouspensky' in himself. Even if he tries to, he will lie to himself and
invent things, and he will never see himself as he really is. It must be
understood that without outside help a man can never see himself.

"In order to know why this is so you must remember a great deal of what has
been said earlier. As was said earlier, self-observation brings a man to the
realization of the fact that he does not remember himself. Man's inability
to remember himself is one of the chief and most characteristic features of
his being and the cause of everything else in him. The inability to remember
oneself finds expression in many ways. A man does 'not remember his
decisions, he does not remember the promises lie has made to himself, does
not remember what he said or felt a month, a week, a day, or even an hour
ago. He begins work of some kind and after a certain lapse of time he does
not remember why he began it. It is especially in connection with work on
oneself that this happens particularly often. A man can remember a promise
given to another person only with the help of artificial associations,
associations which have been educated into him, and they, in their turn, are
connected with conceptions which are also artificially created of 'honor,'
'honesty,' 'duty,' and so on. But speaking in general one can say truthfully
that if a man remembers one thing he forgets ten other things which are much
more important for him to remember. And a man particularly easily forgets
what relates to himself, those 'mental photographs' of himself which perhaps
he has previously taken.

"And this deprives man's views and opinions of any stability and precision.
A man does not remember what he has thought or what he has said; and he does
not remember how he thought or how he spoke.

"This in its turn is connected with one of the fundamental characteristics
of man's attitude towards himself and to all his surroundings. Namely, his
constant 'identification' with what at a given moment has attracted his
attention, his thoughts or his desires, and his imagination.

" 'Identification' is so common a quality that for purposes of observation
it is difficult to separate it from everything else. Man is always in a
state of identification, only the object of identification changes.

"A man identifies with a small problem which confronts him and he completely
forgets the great aims with which he began his work. He identifies with one
thought and forgets other thoughts; he is identified with one feeling, with
one mood, and forgets his own wider thoughts, emotions, and moods. In work
on themselves people are so much identified with separate aims that they
fail to see the wood for the trees. Two or three trees nearest to them
represent for them the whole wood.

"'Identifying' is one of our most terrible foes because it penetrates
everywhere and deceives a man at the moment when it seems to him that he is
struggling with it. It is especially difficult to free oneself from
identifying because a man naturally becomes more easily identified with the
things that interest him most, to which he gives his time, his work, and his
attention. In order to free himself from identifying a man must be
constantly on guard and be merciless with himself, that is, he must not be
afraid of seeing all the subtle and hidden forms which identifying takes.

"It is necessary to see and to study identifying to its very roots in
oneself. The difficulty of struggling with identifying is still further
increased by the fact that when people observe it in themselves they
consider it a very good trait and call it 'enthusiasm,' 'zeal,' 'passion,'
'spontaneity,' 'inspiration,' and names of that kind, and they consider that
only in a state of identifying can a man really produce good work, no matter
in what sphere. In reality of course this is illusion. Man cannot do
anything sensible when he is in a state of identifying. If people could see
what the state of identifying means they would alter their opinion. A man
becomes a thing, a piece of flesh; he loses even the small semblance of a
human being that he has. In the East where people smoke hashish and other
drugs it often happens that a man becomes so identified with his pipe that
he begins to consider he is a pipe himself. This is not a joke but a fact.
He actually becomes a pipe. This is identifying. And for this, hashish or
opium are entirely unnecessary. Look at people in shops, in theaters, in
restaurants; or see how they identify with words when they argue about
something or try to prove something, particularly something they do not know
themselves. They become greediness, desires, or words; of themselves nothing
remains.

"Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies
with anything is unable to remember himself. In order to remember oneself it
is necessary first of all not to identify. But in order to learn not to
identify man must first of all not be identified with himself, must not call
himself 'I' always and on all occasions. He must remember that there are two
in him, that there is himself that is 'I' in him, and there is another with
whom he must struggle and whom he must conquer if he wishes at any time to
attain anything. So long as a man identifies or can be identified, he is the
slave of everything that can happen to him. Freedom is first of all freedom
from identification.

"After general forms of identification attention must be given to a
particular form of identifying, namely identifying with people, which takes
the form of 'considering' them.

"There are several different kinds of 'considering.'

"On the most prevalent occasions a man is identified with what others think
about him, how they treat him, what attitude they show towards him. He
always thinks that people do not value him enough, are not sufficiently
polite and courteous. All this torments him, makes him think and suspect and
lose an immense amount of energy on guesswork, on suppositions, develops in
him a distrustful and hostile attitude towards people. How somebody looked
at him, what somebody thought of him, what somebody said of him-all this
acquires for him an immense significance.

"And he 'considers' not only separate persons but society and historically
constituted conditions. Everything that displeases such a man seems to him
to be unjust, illegal, wrong, and illogical. And the point of departure for
his judgment is always that these things can and should be changed.
'Injustice' is one of the words in which very often considering hides
itself. When a man has convinced himself that he is indignant with some
injustice, then for him to stop considering would mean 'reconciling himself
to injustice.'

"There are people who are able to consider not only injustice or the failure
of others to value them enough but who are able to consider for example the
weather. This seems ridiculous but it is a fact. People are able to consider
climate, heat, cold, snow, rain; they can be irritated by the weather, be
indignant and angry with it. A man can take everything in such a personal
way as though everything in the world had been specially arranged in order
to give him pleasure or on the contrary to cause him inconvenience or
unpleasantness.

"All this and much else besides is merely a form of identification. Such
considering is wholly based upon 'requirements.' A man inwardly 're-quires'
that everyone should see what a remarkable man he is and that they should
constantly give expression to their respect, esteem, and admiration for him,
for his intellect, his beauty, his cleverness, his wit, his presence of
mind, his originality, and all his other qualities. Requirements in their
turn are based on a completely fantastic notion about themselves such as
very often occurs with people of very modest appearance. Various writers,
actors, musicians, artists, and politicians, for instance, are almost
without exception sick people. And what are they suffering from? First of
all from an extraordinary' opinion of themselves, then from requirements,
and then from considering, that is, being ready and prepared beforehand to
take offense at lack of understanding and lack of appreciation.

"There is still another form of considering which can take a great deal of
energy from a man. This form starts with a man beginning to think that he is
not considering another person enough, that this other person is offended
with him for not considering him sufficiently. And he begins to think
himself that perhaps he does not think enough about this other, does not pay
him enough attention, does not give way to him enough. All this is simply
weakness. People are afraid of one another. But this can lead very far. I
have seen many such cases. In this way a man can finally lose his balance,
if at any time he had any, and begin to perform entirely senseless actions.
He gets angry with himself and feels that it is stupid, and he cannot stop,
whereas in such cases the whole point is precisely 'not to consider.'

"It is the same case, only perhaps worse, when a man considers that in his
opinion he 'ought' to do something when as a matter of fact he ought not to
do so at all. 'Ought' and 'ought not' is also a difficult subject, that is,
difficult to understand when a man really 'ought' and when he 'ought not.'
This can be approached only from the point of view of 'aim.' When a man has
an aim he 'ought' to do only what leads towards his aim and he 'ought not'
to do anything that hinders him from going towards his aim.

"As I have already said, people very often think that if they begin to
struggle with considering within themselves it will make them 'insincere'
and they are afraid of this because they think that in this event they will
be losing something, losing a part of themselves. In this case the same
thing takes place as in attempts to struggle against the outward expression
of unpleasant emotions. The sole difference is that in one case a man
struggles with the outward expression of emotions and in the other case with
an inner manifestation of perhaps the same emotions.

"This fear of losing sincerity is of course self-deception, one of those
formulas of lying upon which human weaknesses are based. Man cannot help
identifying and considering inwardly and he cannot help expressing his
unpleasant emotions, simply because he is weak. Identifying, considering,
the expressing of unpleasant emotions, are manifestations of his weakness,
his impotence, his inability to control himself. But not wishing to
acknowledge this weakness to himself, he calls it 'sincerity' or 'honesty'
and he tells himself that he does not want to struggle against sincerity,
whereas in fact he is unable to struggle against his weaknesses.

"Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man
calls 'sincerity' in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to
restrain himself. And deep down inside him a man is aware of this. But he
lies to himself when he says that he does not want to lose sincerity.

"So far I have spoken of internal considering. It would be possible to bring
forward many more examples. But you must do this yourselves, that is, you
must seek these examples in your observations of yourselves and of others.

"The opposite of internal considering and what is in part a means of
fighting against it is external considering. External considering is based
upon an entirely different relationship towards people than internal
considering. It is adaptation towards people, to their understanding, to
their requirements. By considering externally a man does that which makes
life easy for other people and for himself. External considering requires a
knowledge of men, an understanding of their tastes, habits, and prejudices.

At the same time external considering requires a great power over oneself, a
great control over oneself. Very often a man desires sincerely to express or
somehow or other show to another man what he really thinks of him or feels
about him. And if he is a weak man he will of course give way to this desire
and afterwards justify himself and say that he did not want to lie, did not
want to pretend, he wanted to be sincere. Then he convinces himself that it
was the other man's fault. He really wanted to consider him, even to give
way to him, not to quarrel, and so on. But the other man did not at all want
to consider him so that nothing could be done with him. It very often
happens that a man begins with a blessing and ends with a curse. He begins
by deciding not to consider and afterwards blames other people for not
considering him. This is an example of how external considering passes into
internal considering. But if a man really remembers himself he understands
that another man is a machine just as he is himself. And then he will enter
into his position, he will put himself in his place, and he will be really
able to understand and feel what another man thinks and feels. If he can do
this his work becomes easier for him. But if he approaches a man with his
own requirements nothing except new internal considering can ever be
obtained from it.

"Right external considering is very important in the work. It often happens
that people who understand very well the necessity of external considering
in life do not understand the necessity of external considering in the work;
they decide that just because they are in the work they have the right not
to consider. Whereas in reality, in the work, that is, for a man's own
successful work, ten times more external considering is necessary than in
life, because only external considering on his part shows his valuation of
the work and his understanding of the work; and success in the work is
always proportional to the valuation and understanding of it. Remember that
work cannot begin and cannot proceed on a level lower than that of the
obyvatel,1 that is, on a level lower than ordinary life. This is a very
important principle which, for some reason or other, is very easily
forgotten. But we will speak about this separately afterwards."
And then, still another - again, related directly to our subject of having
"opinions."

"You often think in a very naive way," he said. "You already think you
can do. To get rid of this conviction is more difficult than anything else
for a man. You do not understand all the complexity of your organization and
you do not realize that every effort, in addition to the results desired,
even if it gives these, gives thousands of unexpected and often undesirable
results, and the chief thing that you forget is that you are not beginning
from the beginning with a nice clean, new machine. There stand behind you
many years of a wrong and stupid life, of indulgence in every kind of
weakness, of shutting your eyes to your own errors, of striving to avoid all
unpleasant truths, of constant lying to yourselves, of self-justification,
of blaming others, and so on, and so on. All this cannot help affecting the
machine. The machine is dirty, in places it is rusty, and in some places
artificial appliances have been formed, the necessity for which has been
created by its own wrong way of working.

"These artificial appliances will now interfere very much with all your good
intentions.

"They are called 'buffers.'

" 'Buffer' is a term which requires special explanation. We know what
buffers on railway carriages are. They are the contrivances which lessen the
shock when carriages or trucks strike one another. If there were no buffers
the shock of one carriage against another would be very unpleasant and
dangerous. Buffers soften the results of these shocks and render them
unnoticeable and imperceptible.

"Exactly the same appliances are to be found within man. They are created,
not by nature but by man himself, although involuntarily. The cause of their
appearance is the existence in man of many contradictions; contradictions of
opinions, feelings, sympathies, words, and actions. If a man throughout the
whole of his life were to feel all the contradictions that are within him he
could not live and act as calmly as he lives and acts now. He would have
constant friction, constant unrest. We fail to see how contradictory and
hostile the different I's of our personality are to one another. If a man
were to feel all these contradictions he would feel what he really is. He
would feel that he is mad. It is not pleasant to anyone to feel that he is
mad. Moreover, a thought such as this deprives a man of self-confidence,
weakens his energy, deprives him of 'self-respect.' Somehow or other he must
master this thought or banish it. He must either destroy contradictions or
cease to see and to feel them. A man cannot destroy contradictions. But if
'buffers' are created in him he can cease to feel them and he will not feel
the impact from the clash of contradictory views, contradictory emotions,
contradictory words.

"'Buffers' are created slowly and gradually. Very many 'buffers' are created
artificially through 'education.' Others are created under the hypnotic
influence of all surrounding life. A man is surrounded by people who live,
speak, think, and feel by means of 'buffers.' Imitating them in their
opinions, actions, and words, a man involuntarily creates similar 'buffers'
in himself. 'Buffers' make a man's life more easy. It is very hard to live
without 'buffers.' But they keep man from the possibility of inner
development because 'buffers' are made to lessen shocks and it is only
shocks that can lead a man out of the state in which he lives, that is,
waken him. 'Buffers' lull a man to sleep, give him the agreeable and
peaceful sensation that all will be well, that no contradictions exist and
that he can sleep in peace. 'Buffers' are appliances by means of -which a
man can always be in the right. 'Buffers' help a man not to feel his
conscience.
Another use of the term occurs in the discussion of the above mentioned
obvaytel which is fascinating:

I had for a long time wanted to get G. to talk about repetition but he
always avoided it. So it was on this occasion. Without answering my question
about repetition he continued:

"It often seems to people of the 'way,' that is, of the subjective way,
especially those who are just beginning, that other people, that is, people
of the objective way, are not moving. But this is a great mistake. A simple
obyvatel may sometimes do such work within him that he will overtake
another, a monk or even a yogi.

"Obyvatel is a strange word in the Russian language. It is used in the sense
of 'inhabitant,' without any particular shade. At the same time it is used
to express contempt or derision-'obyvatel'-as though there could be nothing
worse. But those who speak in this way do not understand that the obyvatel
is the healthy kernel of life. And from the point of view of the possibility
of evolution, a good obyvatel has many more chances than a 'lunatic' or a
'tramp.' Afterwards I will perhaps explain what I mean by these two words.
In the meantime we will talk about the obyvatel. I do not at all wish to say
that all obyvatels are people of the objective way. Nothing of the kind.
Among them are thieves, rascals, and fools; but there are others. I merely
wish to say that being a good obyvatel by itself does not hinder the 'way'
And finally there are different types of obyvatel. Imagine, for example, the
type of obyvatel who lives all his life just as the other people round him,
conspicuous in nothing, perhaps a good master, who makes money, and is
perhaps even close-fisted. At the same time he dreams all his life of
monasteries, for instance, and dreams that some time or other he will leave
everything and go into a monastery. And such things happen in the East and
in Russia. A man lives and works, then, when his children or his
grandchildren are grown up, he gives everything to them and goes into a
monastery. This is the obyvatel of which I speak. Perhaps he does not go
into a monastery, perhaps he does not need this. His own life as an obyvatel
can be his way.

"People who are definitely thinking about ways, particularly people of
intellectual ways, very often look down on the obyvatel and in general
despise the virtues of the obyvatel. But they only show by this their own
personal unsuitability for any way whatever. Because no way can begin from a
level lower than the obyvatel. This is very often lost sight of on people
who are unable to organize their own personal lives, who are too weak to
struggle with and conquer life, dream of the ways, or what they consider are
ways, because they think it will be easier for them than life and because
this, so to speak. Justifies their weakness and their inadaptability. A man
who can be a good obyvatel is much more helpful from the point of view of
the way than a 'tramp' who thinks himself much higher than an obyvatel. I
call 'tramps' all the so-called 'intelligentsia'- artists, poets, any kind
of 'bohemian' in general, who despises the obyvatel and who at the same time
would be unable to exist without him. Ability to orientate oneself in life
is a very useful quality from the point of view of work. A good obyvatel
should be able to support at least twenty persons by his own labor. What is
a man worth who is unable to do this?"

"What does obyvatel actually mean?" asked somebody. "Can it be said that an
obyvatel is a good citizen?"

"Ought an obyvatel to be patriotic?" someone else asked. "Let us suppose
there is war. What attitude should an obyvatel have towards war?"

"There can be different wars and there can be different patriots," said G.

"You all still believe in words. An obyvatel, if he is a good obyvatel, does
not believe in words. He realizes how much idle talk is hidden behind them.
People who shout about their patriotism are psychopaths for him and he looks
upon them as such."

"And how would an obyvatel look upon pacifists or upon people who refuse to
go to the war?"

"Equally as lunatics! They are probably still worse."

On another occasion in connection with the same question G. said:

"A good deal is incomprehensible to you because you do not take into account
the meaning of some of the most simple words, for instance, ' you have never
thought what to be serious means. Try to give yourselves an answer to the
question what being serious means."

"To have a serious attitude towards things," someone said.

"That is exactly what everybody thinks, actually it is exactly the reverse,"
said G. "To have a serious attitude towards things does not at all mean
being serious because the principal question is, towards what things? Very
many people have a serious attitude towards trivial things. Can they be
called serious? Of course not.

"The mistake is that the concept 'serious' is taken conditionally. One thing
is serious for one man and another thing for another man. In reality
seriousness is one of the concepts which can never and under no
circumstances be taken conditionally. Only one thing is serious for all
people at all times. A man may be more aware of it or less aware of it but
the seriousness of things will not alter on this account.

"If a man could understand all the horror of the lives of ordinary people
who are turning round in a circle of insignificant interests and
insignificant aims, if he could understand what they are losing, he would
understand that there can be only one thing that is serious for him-to
escape from the general law, to be free. What can be serious for a man in
prison who is condemned to death? Only one thing: How to save himself, how
to escape: nothing else is serious.

"When I say that an obyvatel is more serious than a 'tramp' or a 'lunatic,'
I mean by this that, accustomed to deal with real values, an obyvatel values
the possibilities of the 'ways' and the possibilities of 'liberation' or
'salvation' better and quicker than a man who is accustomed all his life to
a circle of imaginary values, imaginary interests, and imaginary
possibilities.

"People who are not serious for the obyvatel are people who live by
fantasies, chiefly by the fantasy that they are able to do something. The
obyvatel knows that they only deceive people, promise them God knows what,
and that actually they are simply arranging affairs for themselves-or they
are lunatics, which is still worse, in other words they believe everything
that people say."

"To what category do politicians belong who speak contemptuously about
'obyvatel,' 'obyvatels' opinions,' 'obyvatels' interests'?" someone asked.

"They are the worst kind of obyvatels," said G., "that is, obyvatels without
any positive redeeming features, or they are charlatans, lunatics, or
knaves."

"But may there not be honest and decent people among politicians?" someone
asked.

"Certainly there may be," said G., "but in this case they are not practical
people, they are dreamers, and they will be used by other people as screens
to cover their own obscure affairs.

"The obyvatel perhaps may not know it in a philosophical way, that is to
say, he is not able to formulate it, but he knows that things 'do
themselves' simply through his own practical shrewdness, therefore, in his
heart, he laughs at people who think, or who want to assure him, that they
signify anything, that anything depends on their decisions, that they can
change or, in general, do anything. This for him is not being serious. And
an understanding of what is not serious can help him to value that which is
serious."
And then, most interestingly, at the end, Ouspensky uses the word again,
ascribing "opinions" to Gurdjieff when, in fact, it was an OPINION of
Ouspensky's that he could not let go of that he was entitled to his opinion
which led to the distortion of his view of Gurdjieff!


But my personal position in G.'s work began to change. For a whole year
something had been accumulating and I gradually began to see that there were
many things I could not understand and that I had to go. This may appear
strange and unexpected after all I have written so far, but it had
accumulated gradually. I wrote that I had for some time begun to separate G.
and the ideas. I had no doubts about the ideas. On the contrary, the more I
thought of them, the deeper I entered into them, the more I began to value
them and realize their significance. But I began very strongly to doubt that
it was possible for me, or even for the majority of our company, to continue
to work under G.'s leadership. I do not in the least mean that I found any
of G.'s actions or methods wrong or that they failed to respond to what I
expected. This would be strange and completely out of place in connection
with a leader in work, the esoteric nature of which I have admitted. The one
excludes the other. In work of such a nature there can be no sort of
criticism, no sort of "disagreement" with this or that person. On the
contrary, all work consists in doing what the leader indicates,
understanding in conformance with his opinions even those things that he
does not say plainly, helping him in everything that he does. There can be
no other attitude towards the work. And G. himself said several times that a
most important thing in the work was to remember that one came to learn and
to take no other role upon oneself.

And it is of course possible that a man who is beginning work will make a
mistake, will follow a leader such as he cannot follow for any distance. It
stands to reason that it is the task of the leader to see to it that people
do not begin to work with him for whom his methods or his special subjects
will always be alien, incomprehensible, and unattainable. But if this does
happen and if a man had begun to work with a leader whom he cannot follow,
then of course, having noticed and realized this, he ought to go and seek
another leader or work independently, if he is able to do so.

In regard to my relations with G. I saw clearly at that time that I had been
mistaken about many things that I had ascribed to G. and that by staying
with him now I should not be going in the same direction I went at the
beginning. And I thought that all the members of our small group, with very
few exceptions, were in the same or in a similar situation.

This was a very strange "observation" but it was absolutely a right one. I
had nothing to say against G.'s methods except that they did not suit me. A
very clear example came to my mind then. I had never had a negative attitude
towards the "way of the monk," to religious, mystical ways. At the same time
I could never have thought for one moment that such a way was possible for
me or suitable. And so, if after three years of work I perceived that G. was
leading us in fact towards the way of religion, of the monastery, and
required the observance of all religious forms and ceremonies, there would
be of course a motive for disagreeing with this and for going away, even
though at the risk of losing direct leadership. And certainly this would
not, at the same time, mean that I considered the religious way a wrong way
in general. It may even be a more correct way than my way but it is not my
way.
Notice that what Ouspensky describes is his OPINION of what he thought
Gurdjieff was doing. Looking back on things historically, we can see that
Ouspensky was WRONG. He came to that exact crossroad Gurdjieff described
and was unable to accept that his opinions were, effectively, programs, buffers:

"The most dangerous thing in this case is to rely on one's own judgment. If
a man is lucky he may at this time have someone near him who can tell him
where he is and where 'Ouspensky' is. But he must moreover trust this
person, because he will undoubtedly think that he understands everything
himself and that he knows where he is and where 'Ouspensky' is. And not only
in relation to himself but in relation also to other people will he think
that he knows and sees their 'Ouspenskys.' All this is of course self-
deception. At this stage a man can see nothing either in relation to
himself or to others. The more convinced he is that he can, the more he is
mistaken. But if he can be even to a slight extent sincere with himself and
really wants to know the truth, then he can find an exact and infallible
basis for judging rightly first about himself and then about other people.
But the whole point lies in being sincere with oneself. And this is by no
means easy. People do not understand that sincerity must be learned. They
imagine that to be sincere or not to be sincere depends upon their desire or
decision. But how can a man be sincere with himself when in actual fact he
sincerely does not see what he ought to see in himself? Someone has to show
it to him. And his attitude towards the person who shows him must be a right
one, that is, such as will help him to see what is shown him and not, as
often happens, hinder him if he begins to think that he already knows
better.

"This is a very serious moment in the work. A man who loses his direction at
this moment will never find it again afterwards.
It must be remembered that
man such as he is does not possess the means of distinguishing 'I' and
'Ouspensky' in himself. Even if he tries to, he will lie to himself and
invent things, and he will never see himself as he really is. It must be
understood that without outside help a man can never see himself.
So, an interesting survey of OPINIONS.

Feedback? Observations? How many of you have used the "Everyone is
entitled to their own opinion" as a discussion stopper? How many times has
it been used on you? Any particular characteristics of the individuals who
have used it on your? What about your own use of it?
 

Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Feedback? Observations? How many of you have used the "Everyone is
entitled to their own opinion" as a discussion stopper? How many times has
it been used on you? Any particular characteristics of the individuals who
have used it on your? What about your own use of it?
I know I've used it, usually to end a discussion that is going nowhere. I never intended though, to mean that MY opinion was the correct one based on the topic of discussion. I've tied it into my "be nice" program, don't alienate the other person who doesn't agree with me. Just smile and say something silly like, "well if we all thought alike it would be a boring world." *sigh*
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
From this dictionary : http://www.etymonline.com/
<< opinion :
c.1300, from O.Fr. opinion (12c.), from L. opinionem (nom. opinio) "opinion, conjecture, what one thinks," from stem of opinari "think, judge, suppose, opine," from PIE [note mine: Proto Indo European]*op- "to choose". Opinionated "obstinate" is attested from 1601. >>

This explanation of "OP" as meaning "choose" makes me think of the word "option".

However, when I looked up for this PIE root "op", I found this, there : http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE361.html

<<ENTRY: op-
DEFINITION: To work, produce in abundance. Oldest form *3ep-, colored to *3op-.
Derivatives include opera1, maneuver, manure, opulent, and cornucopia.
1. Suffixed form *op-es-. opera1, operate, operose, opus; cooperate, inure, maneuver, manure, officinal, stover, from Latin opus (stem oper-), work, with its denominative verb operr, to work, and secondary noun opera, work. 2. Italic compound *opi-fici-om (see dh-). 3. Suffixed form *op-en-ent-. opulent, from Latin dissimilated opulentus, rich, wealthy. 4. Suffixed form *op-ni-. omni-, omnibus; omnium-gatherum, from Latin omnis, all (< "abundant"). 5. Suffixed (superlative) form *op-tamo-. optimum, from Latin optimus, best (< "wealthiest"). 6. copious, copy; cornucopia, from Latin cpia, profusion, plenty, from prefixed form *co-op- (co-, collective and intensive prefix; see kom). (Pokorny 1. op- 780.)>>

but the word "opinion" or "opine" are not mentioned in the derivatives. And the meaning is not "choose" but "work".
coud this be an error made by the etymonline site ? or an error from myself in my searching ?
Will try to find more infos.
 

Pierre

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Opinion comes from the latin word "opinio" that is linked to the verb "opinor",ie to notice that, opinor is a reflexive verb, that means that since the origin of the verb there was a notion of commitment of the subject and a relative closeness. We can also notice the existence of an old verb «opio», to examine, that led to the modern latin verb "optare", a frequentative verb, meaning examining carefully then choosing. Opio can reminds us of "opium". Could religions or opinions be considered as "opium of the masses" since it substitutes beliefs, dogmas, blindness to objectivity, fact, truth ?

Those different words lead to a similar root "op-" that is found in a greek word "opsomai", that is the future conjugation for the verb meaning "to see" and in another Greek word "ops" ie eye. Thus "opinion" describes the appropriation of an opinion, a thought, a belief by a singular subject systematically linked to the vision. Thus we can wonder if opinion dynamics are not restrictive in the sense that the process only encompasses superficially visible factors within a reflexive/unilateral process (in opposition to the act of Seeing described by Carlos Castaneda where the individual is in touch with an augmented reality, seeing more than the superficial/apparent world)

By the way, in The Republic, Plato analyzes the concept of political opinion (in opposition to the initial concept of judgement ie a process based on open and collective data gathering, analysis, discussions and decision). In The Republic, the political opinion stands for a process where the individual doesn't totally commit and consequently doesn't fully become a member of the republic community ie a citizen. According to Plato only the ones who hold opinion and who fully apply those opinions through their free will and by freely exercising their citizenship can be considered as real citizen.

This notion of unity between what is though and what is done can remind us of the concept of "impeccability" described by C. Castaneda where an individual start to be only when he acts with his wholeness, when there is a perfect harmony between his mind (what he thinks) and his body (what he does). From this point of view, "opinion" would be short to the goal since it induces a discrepancy between thoughts (opinions) and acts.

From the latin Word "Opine" comes the French word « opineur » : defining someone who has no substance who says yes to anything.

In Bird language (phonetics games) Opinion = Open-nion sounds like "Open-non" ie non-open (enclosed in his own beliefs instead of being open to external facts and datas, exchange/networking)

In French, polls are usually called "sondage d'opinion"(literally "opinion survey") as if MSM recognizes , stimulates and praises "opinions" in masses.
 

dantem

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
This could be very likely a clue about why the narcissistic characters and media manipulators count so much on their own 'opinions' and 'arguments', elevating them to truth and towards a subjective view of the world:

from A. Lobaczewski, P.Ponerology, Ch. IV

Paranoid character disorders: It is characteristic of paranoid
behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct
reasoning and discussion as long as the conversation involves
minor differences of opinion. This stops abruptly when the
partner's arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas,
crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them
to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before.
Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudological,
largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which
always contain some degree of suggestion.
Utterances like these inspire aversion among cultivated and
logical people, who then tend to avoid the paranoid types.
However, the power of the paranoid lies in the fact that they
easily enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds
of psychological deficiencies, who have been victims of the
egotistical influence of individuals with character disorders,
and, in particular, a large segment of young people.

A proletarian may perceive this power to enslave to be a
kind of victory over higher-class people and thus take the paranoid
person's side. However, this is not the normal reaction
among the common people, where perception of psychological
reality occurs no less often than among intellectuals.
In sum then, the response of accepting paranoid argumentation
is qualitatively more frequent in reverse proportion to the
civilization level of the community in question, although it
never approaches the majority. Nevertheless, paranoid individuals
become aware of their enslaving influence through
experience and attempt to take advantage of it in a pathologically
egotistic manner.

We know today that the psychological mechanism of paranoid
phenomena is twofold: one is caused by damage to the
brain tissue, the other is functional or behavioral. Within the
above-mentioned process of rehabilitation, any brain-tissue
lesion causes a certain slackening of accurate thinking and, as a
consequence, of the personality structure.
 

Appollynon

Jedi Master
I have recently had this line "Well we obviously have different opinions, so lets not talk about it anymore" or "lets agree to disagree" used in more than a few conversations with my ex-partner, alhtough I have also used this line myself.

Generally with my ex-partner if we had a discussion relating to "The Work", or more esoteric concepts we would explain to each other our ideas/opinions. This would very often lead to confrontation as my partner would become offended that I did not either share her views, or would not change my opinions without good reason to suit hers. These disagreements would usualy lead to my partner hurling insults at me, and often accusing me of things such as being the son of the devil for discussing psychopaths and pnerology. We would both use the line, but I feel for different reasons. For my part I would use this line to cease the argument and the insults which were upsetting to hear from someone who claimed to love and care about me. My partner however would end with the line about having diffrenet opinions if she saw I was unwilling to change a well researched or founded belief in something to suit her own opinion.

The feeling I was left with from my ex-partner when she used this line about having different opinions was that she thought I was wrong or behaving in a nasty fashion towards her for not letting her dictate to me what i should and should'nt belive. In hindsight it smacked of control, and then nochalance when I made it clear I wouldn't let her control me.

An example of this would be if I was asked by my partner why I would want to research psychopathy by reading the Ponerology book. I would explain why I was reading, about how I wanted to better protect myself and others from this type of ponerologic programming, and the deviant behaviour of psychopaths better. I would then be told that I should'nt have to read about it as I should just instinctiveley know a good or bad person when I see them and that by focusing on negative subjects like ponerology I was bringing negatvity into the world. I would then counter and share my belief that by doing research and finding out how to protect myself and others better I was doing something positive and protecting myself because the psychopathic type of people are very accomplished at pretending to be good. This would quickly lead to being insulted or branded evil psychopathic myself, as my partner only belived in focusing on positive things and nice warm fuzzy feelings. Either I would use the phrase that we both had different opinions and should just agree to disagree (usually to save myself from being persecuted for my interests), or my partner would use the statement as she had already let me know I was bad/evil or being nasty for not agreeing with her own opinion.

So I guess I've been guilty of using the phrase to sometimes protect myself from what I have percieved as attacking behaviour, or behaviour meant to insult or bellittle me.

I have also experienced this from somone else who would not want to discuss the more "out there" and esoteric elements of "the work". Generaly with one of my friends partners, if me or my friend bring up subjects relating to UFO's, the control matrix or the any of the work we would be met with a response of "well that sounds plausible, but I'd rather belive in a more rational explanation, but I value you opinion". The feeling I get when told this is that the guy in question prefers his own beliefs that let him go on sleeping, and that even if an idea or opinion sound plausible, he will not want to discuss it as it may mean having to confront some of his own sacred cows. In a situation like this I would not continue talking about the subject and would maybe change subject or discuss something of a more mundane or "normal" nature.

I believe I have used the abbreviation IMHO (in my humble opinion) when sharing a point-of-view or idea, however my own opinions are always changing and I don't think I have ever used a statement such as "well lets agree to disagree cos we both have different opinions" on the forum. I know that saying somethng like that can be perceived to be a "cop-out" and it can have a negative feel to it and I always try to think about what I say and how I say it.

Maybe the statement "well lets agree to disagree cos we both have different opinions" should only be used to stop an argument or negative situation becoming any worse, but I have never really seen many examples of where this would apply on this forum. If someone is using that statement often then it would make me very suspicous about the person using it. I may be way off here, but I think I have an idea of whom that QFS discussion may have been about, as I have noticed similar behaviour at times form a certain forum member myself when confronted with a differing point-of-view, and also show an unwilllingess to see any error in their own opinions.

In future I think I may substitute the word opinion for the word idea, as ideas to me are thing that are readily changeable and the word doesn't carry the negative connotations that the word opinion implies. Thanks for the lesson.
 

CarpeDiem

Jedi Council Member
Plato said:
dicere enim et opinari non entia, hoc ipsum falsum est, et orationi et cogitationi contingens
I found it only in latin, looking for english translation, will update
From Plato's dialogue Gorgias: http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/p/plato/p71g/gorgias.html
SOCRATES: I had that in my admiring mind, Gorgias, when I asked what is the nature of rhetoric, which always appears to me, when I look at the matter in this way, to be a marvel of greatness.

GORGIAS: A marvel, indeed, Socrates, if you only knew how rhetoric comprehends and holds under her sway all the inferior arts. Let me offer you a striking example of this. On several occasions I have been with my brother Herodicus or some other physician to see one of his patients, who would not allow the physician to give him medicine, or apply the knife or hot iron to him; and I have persuaded him to do for me what he would not do for the physician just by the use of rhetoric. And I say that if a rhetorician and a physician were to go to any city, and had there to argue in the Ecclesia or any other assembly as to which of them should be elected state-physician, the physician would have no chance; but he who could speak would be chosen if he wished; and in a contest with a man of any other profession the rhetorician more than any one would have the power of getting himself chosen, for he can speak more persuasively to the multitude than any of them, and on any subject. Such is the nature and power of the art of rhetoric! And yet, Socrates, rhetoric should be used like any other competitive art, not against everybody,-the rhetorician ought not to abuse his strength any more than a pugilist or pancratiast or other master of fence;-because he has powers which are more than a match either for friend or enemy, he ought not therefore to strike, stab, or slay his friends. Suppose a man to have been trained in the palestra and to be a skilful boxer,-he in the fulness of his strength goes and strikes his father or mother or one of his familiars or friends; but that is no reason why the trainers or fencing-masters should be held in detestation or banished from the city;-surely not. For they taught their art for a good purpose, to be used against enemies and evil-doers, in self-defence not in aggression, and others have perverted their instructions, and turned to a bad use their own strength and skill. But not on this account are the teachers bad, neither is the art in fault, or bad in itself; I should rather say that those who make a bad use of the art are to blame. And the same argument holds good of rhetoric; for the rhetorician can speak against all men and upon any subject,-in short, he can persuade the multitude better than any other man of anything which he pleases, but he should not therefore seek to defraud the physician or any other artist of his reputation merely because he has the power; he ought to use rhetoric fairly, as he would also use his athletic powers. And if after having become a rhetorician he makes a bad use of his strength and skill, his instructor surely ought not on that account to be held in detestation or banished. For he was intended by his teacher to make a good use of his instructions, but he abuses them. And therefore he is the person who ought to be held in detestation, banished, and put to death, and not his instructor.

SOCRATES: You, Gorgias, like myself, have had great experience of disputations, and you must have observed, I think, that they do not always terminate in mutual edification, or in the definition by either party of the subjects which they are discussing; but disagreements are apt to arise -somebody says that another has not spoken truly or clearly; and then they get into a passion and begin to quarrel, both parties conceiving that their opponents are arguing from personal feeling only and jealousy of themselves, not from any interest in the question at issue. And sometimes they will go on abusing one another until the company at last are quite vexed at themselves for ever listening to such fellows. Why do I say this? Why, because I cannot help feeling that you are now saying what is not quite consistent or accordant with what you were saying at first about rhetoric. And I am afraid to point this out to you, lest you should think that I have some animosity against you, and that I speak, not for the sake of discovering the truth, but from jealousy of you. Now if you are one of my sort, I should like to cross-examine you, but if not I will let you alone. And what is my sort? you will ask. I am one of those who are very willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing to refute any one else who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be refuted as to refute; for I hold that this is the greater gain of the two, just as the gain is greater of being cured of a very great evil than of curing another. For I imagine that there is no evil which a man can endure so great as an erroneous opinion about the matters of which we are speaking; and if you claim to be one of my sort, let us have the discussion out, but if you would rather have done, no matter;-let us make an end of it.
 

Keit

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Appollynon said:
I have recently had this line "Well we obviously have different opinions, so lets not talk about it anymore" or "lets agree to disagree" used in more than a few conversations with my ex-partner, alhtough I have also used this line myself.

Generally with my ex-partner if we had a discussion relating to "The Work", or more esoteric concepts we would explain to each other our ideas/opinions. This would very often lead to confrontation as my partner would become offended that I did not either share her views, or would not change my opinions without good reason to suit hers. These disagreements would usualy lead to my partner hurling insults at me, and often accusing me of things such as being the son of the devil for discussing psychopaths and pnerology. We would both use the line, but I feel for different reasons. For my part I would use this line to cease the argument and the insults which were upsetting to hear from someone who claimed to love and care about me. My partner however would end with the line about having diffrenet opinions if she saw I was unwilling to change a well researched or founded belief in something to suit her own opinion.
.
This is something similar that going on between me and my partner. Although we don't use insults, I am often guilty in using covert aggression or other reaction programs (and I am taking into account that this maybe a major reason of our miscommunications or disagreements). And in the end of our conversations, we always say: "Well, we obviously have a completely different point of views, so maybe better to avoid talking about it at all". I see it as a very simple tactic of avoiding a problem or shoving it under the rug. My partner said that most of the time he chooses not to express his opinion because he knows that it differs from others and he want to avoid problems like stormy conversations while most of the people do not want to listen anyway but want to be heard (to voice their own opinion). So he uses this tactic to avoid problems and face something that may hurt him. From my side, I've noticed that I want to end a conversation (by using "my opinion, your opinion") when I do not have any good argument or explanation. I suddenly feel fear that maybe what I just said really can appear as wrong. So I feel the urge to avoid a conversation and "regroup".. Once, after such conversation I tried to understand why is that. Actually, when we think that we have an opinion on something - it's doesn't mean that this is OUR own opinion. When I tried to analyze some opinions I had, it's turned out that all of them were influenced by other information I accepted as true. While it is legitimate after utilizing discernment, in lot of cases I just took it by "belief" because the "source" was reliable in the past.
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
In "We're all entitled to our opinion" - what does "entitled" mean?

google.com said:
Entitled:
1) "qualified for by right according to law"
2) "To have the right to"
Ok, what is "right"?

Dictionary.com said:
Main Entry: right
Part of Speech: noun 1
Definition: privilege
Synonyms: advantage, appanage, authority, benefit, birthright, business, claim, comeuppance, desert, deserving, due, exemption, favor, franchise, freedom, immunity, interest, liberty, license, lumps, merit, permission, perquisite, power, preference, prerogative, priority, title
Oh boy..

In other words, they speak of having "permission" to hold an opinion. Permission from either birthright or some higher authority. Although "permission" and "birthright" don't really make sense together either now that I think about it - if you're born with it, it's simply an ABILITY - the only way it can stop being an ability is if it is forcibly removed. Please also note that among the synonyms listed we see "freedom" together with "authority/license/permission" - an example of ponerologic association. One does not become free just by being able to spit out pieces of information - computers do that too.

So it seems that holding an opinion is an ability - it is something we're born with. Note that this says nothing about consciousness - a computer can hold an opinion too if you type it in and save it in a file. Even 100 opinions about the same thing if you make 100 files, also just like most people. So when someone says "I'm entitled to hold an opinion" - they speak of an illusory freedom, or an illusory permission - what they ARE saying is "my brain has the ability to accept things as true if it wants to!". This is no different than saying "I have the right to walk!". But having opinions, just like walking, is only useful in the context of direction/content. Aka - you can walk off the edge off a cliff while practicing your "birthright to walk" just as your opinions can lead you off the edge of a mental "cliff" while practicing your "entitlement to opinions".

If you ever tell someone that they are walking off a cliff, do they say "Everyone is entitled to walk!!" and keep on walking? That would mean that direction of walking is totally irrelevant, just the "freedom to walk" is important to them. This is obviously silly and absurd. But that's what it sounds like. And yet, oppressors are never interested in preventing people from holding an opinion, only interested in managing said opinion. Opinions are, in the end, assumptions - how can you hold an opinion AND be open at the same time? Then it's not really an opinion, it's an assessment of probability. Opinion is a belief aka assumption - and that would mean it can only lead where assumptions can lead. Off a cliff.

Laura said that entitlement to opinions is a cheap shot at democracy, and I agree. That's like saying that we have the right to walk - all the while preventing us from having the right to STAND in one place, and also directing where we go as we're walking.
 
M

Millie

Guest
Heroclitus says " war is the father of all things", is this a lesson for all of us?
( I think this basically means that change is good, whatever we mortals think).

Me, I refuse to be a slave to my beliefs. My beliefs change all the time. I won't let my beliefs tell me what to do.

So, do not be a slave to what you think. How is that for thinking for yourself, eh?

http:http://www.anxietyculture.com/distract.htm ...

This site has a lot of good stuff... about thinking for yourself,
and realising stuff about your opinions, try to find if your are opinions are really yours... sometimes they may be years old, might be time to think again.
 
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