the daily doyle

Who Do You Listen to?
May 22, 2011, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Philosophical stuff

If I wrote something insightful and brilliant, would you believe it, accept it as your own and continue to believe it from here on out? I hope not.

If I wrote something stupid and unworkable, would you grab onto that? I really hope not.

Some people have trouble discerning whether an idea is brilliant or worthless. Sometimes what we think of an idea is based on its source. Who said it?

It’s an interesting phenomenon really, that the same idea has a different value depending upon who you think said it.

I hope that my readers enjoy my articles. I’d like to make you think and come to your own conclusions about the topics I bring up. I don’t particularly want to change anybody’s viewpoint just based on the fact that I write a certain thing. That may be a hard concept to grasp. I really do want to change viewpoints but I don’t want anyone to just follow what I say. I want you to take a look at the information I’ve provided, consider my opinion, do some more research, compare that with what you already know, and then… agree with me. Get it?

Who do you listen to? This is a question really about authority, “experts”, any name you’d like to call the people whose words are listened to by others.

I could think of endless examples.

Politically, Democrats listen to Barack Obama and I think far too many listen to Keith Oberman and Jon Stewart. They are comedians, you know that right?

Republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan and conservative economist, Milton Friedman. I’ll bet most of you never heard of Milton Friedman, which is a tragedy. Someday I’ll write a whole article about him.

Catholics, I think, listen to the Pope, yet most of the ones that I know feel free to disagree on the subject of birth control.

Most of us listen to doctors when it comes to questions about our health. This is generally a good thing, they have gone to school for years and probably do know something about the body. The medical profession has done a good job of earning our trust. However, sometimes that trust is misplaced. In some cases, the desire to push profitable drugs and provide a quick fix has displaced standard medical practice. Sometimes you shouldn’t trust your doctor.

This is especially the case in the practice of psychiatry. For a long time, most people have trusted doctors. Conversely most people have distrusted psychiatrists. They’ve been called “shrinks” and worse. Samuel Goldwyn is famous for saying, “Any man who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined. In a more serious vein, there is this quote: “You take the cards you’re dealt. I’m now ferociously healthy in body and mind. You couldn’t pay me to go near a psychiatrist again. Stopping seeing them was my first step to getting well.” -Margot Kidder

Psychiatry, distrusted, needed a better way to become trusted. What better way than to “morph” or evolve into a branch of medicine and borrow the trust that had been built by the medical profession?

None of us should ever blindly trust a medical professional. We must, must, must in this day and age do our own research, come to our own conclusions and protect our health.

Possibly we should all be somewhat wary of getting our opinions, beliefs, principles from anyone. We should take care to examine everything we hear from at least a slightly critical perspective.

Yet, there is some practicality in assigning different value on the words of one man versus another. If you’ve listened to a particular source a few times or many, and all has worked out well, naturally you are going to label his statements, “most likely good”. This is sensible but one should still put in a little work to verify each piece of information.

Personally, I’m a Scientologist. I’ve read the work of L. Ron Hubbard extensively and his words have been very useful to me. When I study something in Scientology, I place a high value upon it based on past experience. Yet I am still careful to see that it makes sense to me and it’s something I can use. Even L. Ron Hubbard himself emphasized the importance of this, stating “What is true is what is true for you. No one has any right to force data on you and command you to believe it or else. If it is not true for you, it isn’t true. Think your own way through things, accept what is true for you, discard the rest…” That quote is from the book The Way to Happiness, Chapter 7, entitled Seek to Live With the Truth, which you can read in full at this link:

So who do you listen to?

One more thing. Definitely do not use me as an example of perfect grammar. I do know grammar very well but I like to bend the rules. For example, the title of this piece with that preposition dangling at the end is just ghastly. But somehow “To Whom Do You Listen?” just didn’t have the same punch.

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

This is a great article.
I like the wisdom in it.

Winston Churchill has a quote that is funny to me concerning the grammar:

From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Winston Churchill – [Grammar]
Winston was the English Prime Minister during WW11.


Comment by Mary Collins

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