My wife asked me yesterday, “What is that saying, you shoot for the what to land in the stars?” I fumbled through it then looked it up. The correct quote from Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, is, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
It’s a lot of work to shoot for the moon to attain truth, and in our lackadaisical pursuit of the it, we have not fallen among the stars of knowledge. We have tumbled down and been caught by popular opinion. Unfortunately, the problem arose with the initial pursuit. Today, very few people are actually shooting for the moon of truth. Educating yourself on all sides of an argument, or all hypotheses that have led to theories is hard work. It requires an open-mind, a release of biases, and a willingness to be wrong. All three characteristics that are not rampant in today’s liberalistic culture. It is way easier to adopt the opinions of people who you happen to share a few other opinions with, operating under the assumption that they have put the work in to form an educated opinion, then spouting it off on social channels as your own. Never just assume another has put the work in. Allow reliable, trustworthy, proven sources to play a role in your accumulation of knowledge, and your personal opinion should never be solely formed based on it being the opinion of another person. I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead. That is a belief I have based on my experiences and pursuit, however, to only accept that as truth because I do, devastatingly robs you of the beauty of realizing it yourself. This is true for all knowledge.
“I trust this person so I believe the same thing.” Are you sure about that? What if someone else you trust says the opposite?
The hard work required and the potential of being incorrect, make the pursuit of knowledge less intriguing. As a result, we piggyback on opinion without forming our own ideals and the wedge only drives deeper into the rock on which our society stands. If you want unity, you first must have empathy. If you want unity, you first must confront how little you know. If you want unity, you must educate yourself on all theories that pertain to that opinion. Facts are observations we all agree upon. However, if you are only gaining your facts from people who observe situations in the same way you do, your hypotheses will never challenge another which is what truly leads to growth, empathy, and unification.
Have the courage to form your own thoughts and then your confidence will stem from the work you’ve put in, and your own experience, not the reliance on what you have been fed by others. Desperately pursue your own knowledge. Please don’t settle for assumptive opinion based on the research you believe others have done. The worst of this is in the media, where the desire to be the first news breaker comes before a true understanding of the situation. The value is not in the truth, it is in the instant gratification that comes with the assumptive truth which elevates your own individual status with people who don’t have the knowledge but rely on you to gain it. The ones with a platform utilize opinion osmosis to their followers because they know they will trust what they say without questioning it. This is how you see people become more and more powerful. It is not bad for people to have a platform and share opinions; the problem comes with the audience who believes that opinion regardless. An authentic community comes when assumptions have been tested as individuals who then come together in unity over an idea.
We must continue to put the work in to seek our own personal knowledge over settling for opinions. Relentlessly shoot for the moon. It’s worth it.