Having An Opinion

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Is important. Having an opinion on anything.
The more subjects we have opinions on, the better.
We don’t have to be an expert on the subject to have an opinion on it.
We can reflect on it based on what we have available, what we have heard or experienced.
To have opinions we must think.
Doing so elevates it to an art form. The reflection we put into it does that.
And every one of us can do it.
We can do it while walking, sitting or lying down. But it should be done while one is alone.
Of course, opinions can and will be influenced by discussion with others but the more effort we put into doing our own thinking, the more we will get from interactions.
Writing helps thinking. But you don’t need to write to think.
Socrates didn’t do much writing. His pupil, Plato, would do it for him.
All we need to have an opinion is the willingness to have it.
All we need to think is the willingness to do it. The willingness to say, ‘I am going to think.’
That’s it.
It sounds so simple and yet, most people don’t set aside the time for it.
It is much easier to read or hear another person’s opinion and then agree or disagree with it. Which has a place, of course.
But the thinking I’m talking about is the thinking that one initiates. The one where one sets a time for it.
Each one of us has a variety of undigested ideas on a given subject that will come up when one chooses to think.
Dialogue is central to thinking. Dialogue with ourselves. With ideas we’ve heard but not pondered. Ideas we have not answered.
The French sculptor Rodin paid homage to thinking when he made his famous ‘The Thinker’, a bronze piece of a naked man sitting on a slab of stone, facing forward, his chin resting on the back of his flexed right hand, the same arm’s elbow placed on his left thigh. It is a beautiful piece.
That’s all we need to think. A place to sit and be alone.
Alone so that whatever is brewing in us can rise to the surface undisturbed.
Alone so our thoughts can float up gently into our consciousness.
Consider for a moment how little time we devote to thinking. We’re always rushing here and there, doing this or that. Afraid of looking into what is in us.
Thinking is beautiful and it is an art. Unrecognized and undervalued.
It brings us closer to who we are for it demands that we take off our mask. That we face our reality and not rush away from it. That we face our prejudices, our fears, our mistakes, our pain, our anger, our indifference, our brutality.
We all have to make a contribution to earn our living. Doing our own thinking should be part of it. And we shouldn’t leave it to others to do it for us.
We shouldn’t because every single one of us is unique.
Next time you set aside time to think, remind yourself that thinking is an art form.
When we take time to think we’re activating our creative powers. Who knows what will come out.
Societies whose members think, embrace democracy.
Societies whose members don’t, surrender to autocracy.
If you haven’t, look up Rodin’s bronze, ‘Le Penseur’, for inspiration.
It is on the net, of course, but the real thing might be at a museum near you.

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