Today, I ran across two things devoted to inner wisdom or inner voice or gut reaction or whatever you want to call it. One was a podcast and the other was done more for fun but it was interesting to come across two similarly themed items in a short period of time.
It did strike a chord with me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that most of what we argue about has no real objective truth. In other words, it is things we can’t really prove so it comes down to your opinion vs someone else’s. And I’ve also gotten to the point that when I see something that includes the phrase “experts say”, I tend to ignore it given the track record of experts over the last couple of years.
Not really sure it is an inner voice but I do try to find my own facts and draw my own conclusions rather than relying on what others say. And, trust me, this sometimes puts you out on a limb but I’ve also learned that arguing about opinions generally lead nowhere so I keep a lot of things to myself.
That was something that was kind of brought up in the podcast. We deal with an increasing amount of uncertainty and we tend to be hard wired to want clarity. But rather than following our internal compass, people outsource that to an “expert” or someone they trust or, in the worst case, what their preferred group or tribe thinks. Then, instead of remaining open to new information and re-calibrating their compass, they tend to get closed minded because they believe they’ve found the truth. That’s when you get the ugly arguments and splintering that we seem to be seeing more of.
I will also say that I hate the phrase “settled science” because it is just a way of shutting down discussion. Throughout history, “settled” science has been proven wrong. We may think we are more advanced and sophisticated now but there is still much that remains unknown and we can only make educated guesses about what it going to happen.
As an example, there were several models used during COVID times that purported to predict what was going to happen. The news media grabbed these and treated them as established fact and that fed into their doom and gloom narrative. It turns out that many of those models were totally wrong and laughably so in some cases. There was nothing “settled” about it. And it was wise to be skeptical. I had some work experience with similar stuff and my opinion was always that you needed to do a sanity check on everything you did. The results were not the end of the story because you had to take a critical look to ask whether they really made sense. I’d believe my intuition over a model any day.
Which isn’t to say that your instincts are always 100% correct because nothing really is. Certainly relying on you inner voice can make you as closed minded as anything else. And there can certainly be selection bias where you seek out only those things that support what you already believe to be true which just reinforces your blind spots.
The podcast made some of these points as well. But if you understand the limitations, I tend to think that following your inner wisdom is the best option.