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This is not to say that there are no men who are vain

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Unformatted text preview: way is the adherence to one's own "opinion." The clash of opinions is in its noblest aspect the basis of knowledge; the correction of opinion that results when man meets man is the growth of tolerance and urbanity. Wide reading, travel and experience teach us that our opinions can never be absolutely right, and we grow to look upon them in a detached sort of way. In fact, the prime result of the growth of intelligence and of experience is to make one, as it were, objective toward oneself, to view one's own thoughts, beliefs and emotions with some humor and skepticism. But the uncultured, the narrow, the inexperienced, the young and the strongly egotistic never detach themselves from their opinions, and their opinions are themselves. Attack an opinion, contradict or amend it,--and a sort of fighting spirit is aroused. Argument differs from discussion in that it seeks all means to win--ridicule, sophistry, and personal attack --and it is by far the more common. There was a time when opinion was entirely enslaved, when only the ruler might venture on a new belief or its expression; then there came a time when the right to freedom of opinion and its expression was conceded, and now, with huge forces confronting one another, freedom of opinion[1] is again threatened. But that is an issue larger than our subject. [1] The most profound contribution to the subject of discussion and freedom of opinion in recent years has been written by Walter Lippman in the Atlantic Monthly, September, 1920. CHAPTER XI. 99 You may judge a man by his type of argument and his reaction to the opinions of others. One should hold to his own beliefs and opinions, but only if they withstand the assaults of reason. To build ego feeling into opinions is to make ignorance sacred. For most of us there are certain opinions that we will not tolerate, and there are others to which we are indifferent. There are those who feel it incumbent on themselves to contradict any opinion, even if they agree fundamentally with it. The mere fact that some one else gave it utterance arouses a sort of jealousy. Then there are others who will not permit any opinion of their...
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