To complete the first full week of NaPoWriMo, I was to write a poem that argues against, or somehow questions, a proverb or saying.
I selected a Chinese proverb which is also a quotation attributed to Grantland Rice (which is the more likely).
“A wise man makes his own decisions. An ignorant man follows public opinion.”
Indeed, following public opinion is called argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”) and is a logical fallacy based on affirming that something is real or better because the majority think so.
The killer of dreams may be worries about
what other people think and indeed,
it matters but shouldn’t.
People have died from their own ignorance
or by ignoring the fleeing crowd. Ask why
everyone is running away, discover reasons.
Learn. Make decisions based on valid,
repeatable, tested evidence. Be skeptical,
but listen and learn, or you may fail.
Opinion polls are often wrong. Opinions change.
Neither follow the blind nor be deceived by prophets,
think and consider and ask, then ask some more.
Public opinion is not always wrong, not always invalid,
it is not always all the public. It is not thinking, but evidence
that makes the difference.
And even then, the state of scientific evidence is fluid,
changing, moving. Contrarian thought is fine. It’s fun.
But in the end, truth is an elusive chameleon.
Look both ways to be sure the path is safe.
Carefully consider all options.
Mind the gaps well lest a valid exception be overlooked.