“Truth conquers with itself, but opinion conquers those focused on affecting things outside of their control.” – Epictetus
With the advent of 24 hour news cycles, opinion and fact have been melded together more than at any other time in written history. Likely, the need to fill the space was part of this shift but opinion has always had a heavy hand in the way the news was presented. Here in the United States a look back at the 1800 presidential election between Thomas Jefferson – the sitting vice president – and incumbent president John Adams and some of the mudslinging done by newspapers of the time.
Our easy access to others opinions gives us the opportunity to examine arguments being made from opinion and those being formulated from only the facts of a situation. We can evaluate in ourselves whether the arguments we hear serve to stir emotions directed at external things – the things that lie beyond our control – or at issues or positions that lie directly within our own control.
If we are committed to identifying the things within our control and the things outside of our control, we should be able to look at the arguments we see and the ones that look to stir emotions about external things should leave us less impressed than opinions or statements that speak to things we could have a direct impact on.
We could just as easily apply this practice to interactions during our day to day lives.
virtus fortis vocat