Fact or Opinion?

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Here is a cerebral search towards truth…

Water boils at 100 degrees centigrade. That is a fact and can be verified by anybody. ‘This water is too cold’ is an opinion. It varies for each individual. Facts can be proven as ‘True or False’. But opinions cannot be proven as ‘Right or Wrong’!

Very often we forget the difference between the two. We argue, emphasise, opinionate and force our views on others. So often we get infuriated when other’s opinions are shoved down our throat. Maturity is in understanding that each individual has a right to an opinion and should not be judged on the same. Distinguishing between what is a fact and what is an opinion helps one become an autonomous person. Applying this crucial difference ensures we don’t get manipulated easily.

‘You must wear yellow on Thursdays’ – is an opinion. ‘I like you wearing yellow on Thursdays’ is a better way to put the same. ‘Fruit juices are yummy’ is an opinion by and large. ‘I don’t like fruit juices’ is my opinion of the same. They differ and they cannot be labeled right or wrong.

When opinions are presented as facts, they have enormous repercussions. Initially the other may believe it to be a fact and adhere to your opinion. But the moment it gets cleared as ‘not factual’ immediately you lose all credibility. Respect is born primarily out of respecting one’s opinions about things. If the same opinion is presented as a fact, you begin to lose respect. On the other hand, when the same is presented simply as ‘my opinion’ it ensures respect is maintained even if people do not agree with that opinion.

God too is a matter of opinion.

‘We have searched across a thousand light years and there is no God, hell or heaven in sight. God is a myth’ – is an opinion, for you don’t even know what you are searching!

‘Lord Ganesha drank milk! It was a spectacular sight to offer to the Lord and see Him accept the same. You call is static electricity. But who created static electricity? God!’ – yet another opinion.

‘Jesus is the one true saviour!’ ‘Allah alone knows’ ‘Krishna is the supreme Paramathma’ – again just an opinion.

‘I believe in a supernatural power because it has benefits and enriches my life. It hardly matters whether it exists or not. What is important is its usefulness. For the same reason I believe in fairies, different universes and the afterlife. Believe in anything that makes life beautiful is the best philosophy. Existence and nonexistence is secondary and nothing to get emotional about’ – just another opinion.

There is something beyond human comprehension – the unknown and perhaps the unknowable for we may never know what we don’t know. That higher power/greater understanding/sacred source/cosmic vibration/beyond our comprehension – that un-namable entity/concept/construct, we sapiens collectively name it GOD.

Yuvan Noah Harari writes in Homo Deus ‘Imagine that one day experts decipher the basic laws of the economy. Once this happens, banks, governments, investors and customers will begin to use this new knowledge to act in novel ways and gain an edge over their competitors. For what is the use of new knowledge if it doesn’t lead to novel behaviours? Alas, once people change the way they behave, the economic theories become obsolete. We may know how the economy functioned in the past – but we no longer understand how it functions in the present, not to mention the future.’ Isn’t this true of all predictions? By changing the way, you behave, the future changes. The same is true of your construct of God too! You believe this is the way the world unfolds. But your very knowledge of it changes the way you behave, and thereby changes the way the future unfolds. Quantum mechanics dances in ecstasy to the rhythms of the unknowable.

Scientific research is aiming towards finding a unified theory of the concepts of relativity and quantum mechanics. Stephen Hawking, undoubtedly the most brilliant mind of the 21st century writes in his book, ‘A brief history of Time’ – “There is a fundamental paradox in the search for (such) a complete unified theory… for if there really is a complete unified theory it would also presumably determine our actions. And so, the theory itself would determine the outcome of our search for it!”. For all his brilliance, Hawking never won the most coveted human award, the Nobel prize, because theoretical scientific discoveries have to be confirmed by observational data before the possibility of winning the Nobel prize. That doesn’t stop scientists from theorising! In science, opinions do not matter. Only facts do. But that does not make opinions redundant.

Every construct of GOD is merely an opinion – some, that only a single individual subscribes to and some, that a million over thousands of years believe in. For some believers it is a fight over whose opinion matters, volleying across imaginary boundaries presenting opinions as facts. A few blessed ones rise above opinionated constructs and accept the fact – ‘there is an aspect of existence beyond all human comprehension, which we refer to as GOD’.

Now the true search begins…

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