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Opinions before facts

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Giuseppe De Rita is a sociologist and president of the institute of social and economic research called Censis. On Corriere della Sera on Tuesday he wondered if the crowding of “opinions” – those of everyone on social networks, but even more the space dedicated to them by traditional media – lacking factual consistency or a level of competence of those who express them higher than that of having simply lived, is not only becoming a question of quantity (already abundantly stigmatized for years) but also of quality: and it is not changing our civilizations and relationships with reality.

Our old men said that “mathematics is not an opinion”, sure that indisputable truths cannot be scratched by swaying personal evaluations, often due to internal and collective emotions.
I fear that security no longer has a place in the current cultural dynamic. If someone were to expose himself to saying that two plus two equals four, he would immediately find himself faced with someone else who would say “this is what you say”, almost insinuating the doubt that it is not a truth, but a personal opinion. The “one is one” rule has been in force here for some time now. There are no truths that cannot be doubted: you think so, but I think the other way around and we are equal. There are no saints, dogmas, decrees, laboratory research, statistical tables; the primacy of personal opinion holds and remains dominant.
We have thus become a people prisoner of opinion, and by now not only by tradition of football supporters, but of readers of all the problems and events on which our collective life takes place. Just buy a newspaper in the morning and you are struck by the front pages full of references that announce many internal articles, almost all strictly linked to facts of opinion, to personalities of opinion, to controversy of opinion, in an unstoppable primacy of Regina mundi opinion.
As an old columnist (I have been in this newspaper since 1976) I am surprised how broad and strong the daily waves of opinion are, their bouncing around in circles, the emphasis they put into maintaining an audience, the propensity to hear their power of conviction almost the presumption of being part of a world, not conditioned by other powers, a “world powerful of its own”.
However, we do not realize that we are all prisoners of low cultural levels, nailed to their own opinions, refractory to higher levels of knowledge, reluctant to study, to confront, to dialectic.

(Keep reading on Corriere.it)