A great article by Stephen Bayley, author of A Dictionary of Idiocy (not yet listed on Amazon), about the importance of being opinionated… which makes me feel pretty good!
Here’s a taste:
Opinions flourish only in periods or cultures without a dominant religion. A medieval monk in his Cluniac abbey or a contemporary mullah in his mosque and, indeed, a fine Victorian gentleman, had little use for original opinions. The collective opinions of religion are inflexible dogma, not interesting expressions of private thought. The best opinions are contrarian, not conformist, although that is in itself a matter of opinion…
In this sense, human progress depends on the continuing practice of forming opinions. So progress, or at least a form of it, is assured. And so it is enchanting to consider the etymology of “idiot”. Nowadays meaning someone of deficient intellect, it originally meant an independent person with ideas of his own. So if you are idiotic, you are civilised. Some may find that a challenging opinion.
It’s well worth reading, this little opinion piece.