I haven't known what to write. Every day I spend time contemplating what I should write about but for the last 5 or 6 days I've drawn a blank. Even after writing something I become preoccupied the next day. Whenever I mention this to Heidi she tells me not to worry about it - writing isn't supposed to be a stressor for me.
So I didn't write. I don't want to write just for the sake of writing, just like I don't want to talk just for the sake of making noise. I am driven by a desire to ensure that whatever I write is meaningful, carefully considered, truthful and accurate, and if possible - fun. I take advantage of this forum to explore and share my thoughts, questions, and opinions. I make an effort to ensure that my opinions are more than uneducated, judgmental biases. Even in writing for myself I want to maintain my credibility and integrity.
The importance of this hit home yesterday.
I was browsing through the kindle books at amazon.com, exploring the expansive selections available there. I began by checking out books on the history of the Middle Ages and followed all sorts of interesting trails through fictional and non-fictional books. With every book that interested me I took the time to read the little blurb that outlined the content of the book and then I went on to read a sampling of the reviews that were available - both positive and negative.
One review jumped out at me!
This may be the worst book published this year. The author is clearly ignorant of the simplest and most basic facts of aeronautics, science, history, and physics, and combines that ignorance with a total lack of scepticism to create a breathtakingly stupid book.
- By Engineer
I love it!
It grabbed my attention, intrigued me, and made me laugh.
The author of the book being reviewed was a person that presented themselves as an investigative reporter.What had this person written that prompted such a scathing criticism?
There were a number of enthusiastically glowing reviews by other readers. The writer had gripped their attention. They found the book informative, well written and thoroughly researched.
The number of negative reviews, however, far surpassed the positive. Many of the critics ripped the book and the author to shreds.
Where did this vast gulf between polar opposite opinions come from? What were these negatively opinionated responses based on?
I took a closer look at the reviews and observed that the positive responses were dripping with superlatives but absent of any details that provided a foundation for the opinion. On the other hand, many of the harsh critics provided detailed, bulletted lists of errors, distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods they had found in the book. The critics provided sufficient information which allowed the reader to do their own research to verify or dismiss the opinions presented. I like that.
(I wondered, if the book was so bad, why were people still buying it? I realized that I was tempted a little bit, just so I could judge for myself. Maybe that explains why Amazon displays all the reviews, even the negative ones.)
I know that I have little tolerance for opinions that are based on erroneous, or incomplete information - especially when the person presenting the opinion is so closed-minded that they dismiss other viewpoints, refuse to listen to other opinions, and seem unable to back up their position with well researched, detailed, accurate facts.
I detest intentional misrepresentation of facts. That's why I abhor our current provincial election campaign. The mud-slinging that the three party leaders have engaged in for the past months is disgusting and makes it extremely difficult for me to go cast my vote tomorrow. I'll probably just spoil my ballot.
I get a kick out of people's theories, especially conspiracy theories, but if they're solely based on rumour, hearsay, and/or myths, I won't waste my time on them.
I am careful not to accept information and opinions just because the presenter has a lot of alphabet behind their name. If I lack knowledge on the subject matter I make a point of doing my own research. I want to satisfy my need for verification and clarification of what I just heard or read. Even when I come across new information that supports my opinions and beliefs, I like to do research to verify the new information. (A side benefit of this is that I expand my own knowledge base.)
Given my intolerance for inadequately informed, entrenched opinions and beliefs, I need to thoroughly examine myself. If I am unable to intelligently explain or defend my opinions and beliefs with detailed accurate information, I absolutely must do more homework.
I still have a lot of homework to do.