Have you ever had a discussion with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about? Have you ever had a discussion with someone who never bases their side of the conversation with facts, but bases their opinions on what they hear in the media and what other non-knowers tell them?
This is a type of person who bases their “knowledge” on stereotypes and comments they’ve heard from others second hand. These types of people are all around — and lately they’ve been all around me. I try to be as tolerant as I can be; I even try to breathe deeply and practice my rebuttal in my head before responding aloud. But this doesn’t always work. I am responsible for the things I say and so everyone else should be too. Nothing stresses me out more than people who continually spew garbage out of their mouths.
For the most part I’ve been fortunate, as I have surrounded myself with like-minded people. I have found myself spending time with people who are interested in the same things I am, people who have taken the same courses in school and people who work in the area I work in. Often, it is somewhat of a utopia for the similar-minded. I’m sure that this is the case for a large number of people. Because of this, I feel that I may be a little spoiled, as my closest group of companions don’t talk out of their asses.
I remember back to my very first university class in 2003: it was “Introduction to Psychology.” The instructor posed a question to the class: “Do you think that most people think they know more than they actually do, or do you think that most people think they know less than they actually do?” The answer, and I got it wrong, is that they think they know more than they actually do. Clearly this has stayed with me throughout the years. It has most likely stayed with me because I often notice when people talk about things they think they know about.
I notice when people have uneducated, non-factual opinions about every topic that ever comes up in conversation.
Honestly, it’s fine not to know something. There are lots of things that I don’t know. But when people use their opinions (that are incorrect) as facts, they make themselves look dumb. As much as I’d like to believe that we only talk about the things that we really know are true, it’s not the case.
In addition to being responsible for the things I say, I also take responsibility for the things I’ve done and especially the assignments I have written for school. I am fine with this. If I ever based my paper on my opinion, I would get an F. If I wrongfully quoted articles, books and journals written by others, I would lose points. If I didn’t include a bibliography with my essay, I would get an F. If I talk out of my ass, am called on it and continue to do so, give me an F. So, for all those out there who feel like they know everything about everything but really don’t, I’m giving you an F.