Strong opinions, loosely held
This was something Tim O’Reilly said at SXSW.
The quote seems to really be “Strong opinions, weakly held”, but I like Tim’s version better, because I’m an internet guy.
The reference for it seems to come from Bob Sutton:
Bob explained that weak opinions are problematic because people aren’t inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. Bob explained that it was just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe because, otherwise, it undermines your ability to “see” and “hear” evidence that clashes with your opinions.
Having an open mind is critical. Being flexible, being willing to learn that you’re wrong, to get wiser, smarter, to be enlightened by argument.
I’m reminded again of David Bohm’s talk about dialogue vs. debate or discussion.
Dialogue is when all parties have an open mind and an authentic, honest interest in getting closer to the truth of a matter.
Discussions (whose root is similar to concussion or percussion and basically means ‘shaking apart’ or ‘dash to pieces’) or debates (comes from battere, which means ‘to fight’) or arguments (comes from arguere which means ‘make clear, prove, accuse’) are about fighting, and about convincing the other side that you’re right.
It’s pure ego.
Ego is the part of you that wants to be right.
Who cares who’s right.
All that matters is that we learn from each other, so we can get a little bit closer to understanding ourselves, the world, and the situation at hand.
Strong opinions, loosely held.