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Dangerous advice

Whenever I read/hear motivational advice such as ‘don’t listen to those who don’t agree with you’ or ‘you do you - don’t care what others think’, I can’t help but pause for thought.

Whilst I can see the good intention behind them, I can also see how such digestible soundbites can be used dangerously to support unhealthy narratives.

Perhaps it’s the mathematician in me, but if I can find an example where the rule doesn’t hold true, then I can’t help but think it’s perhaps not a good rule. Or at least is one that would benefit from more nuanced careful consideration. (Wisdom is only wisdom if it’s timeless, transcending circumstance.)

For example, Hitler wanted to exterminate an entire race of people (I think we can agree, not a nice guy) - was telling him not to listen to the people who disagreed with him good advice? Now, you’re probably thinking ‘don’t be ridiculous, he was clearly wrong’ - but that’s my point, in his eyes he wasn’t. ‘Yes, but his actions were from suffering, not love’ - but to him they weren’t - his ‘truth’ was different.

We will never be smart enough to know it all, so it’s arrogant to think our opinion is definitely right. The wisdom of the collective conscious then is worth at least taking into consideration. Perhaps it’s worth not just casually positing, but truly, deeply considering all the ways in which you might be wrong, before arriving at the conclusion you’re definitely right.

This isn’t to say one shouldn’t have conviction in one’s beliefs, but instead to consider that belief isn’t the same as fact, and as such shouldn’t be treated absolutely but given the opportunity to grow and change and be reconsidered as new information becomes readily available, instead of holding onto an established, possibly erroneous, ‘truth’.


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