Challenging Opinion

Anton’s note:

Greetings, visitor of Anton World!

I have not written less casual post for some time, while this post is meant to have more serious tone, so it is quite challenging for me. I will be grateful if you can point out mistakes (especially grammatical mistake) and confusing points. I had a spark of idea before starting this post but then I got confused after the first couple sentences on how I should structure it and I got lost completely after erasing and rewriting this post multiple times. (>.<)

Here's a misleading image that's unrelated with the post
Here’s a misleading image that’s unrelated with the post! Danbo-ton as photo model.

I wrote in my previous post about how reinterpreting adjective could brighten your perspective. In this post, I want to talk about how being critical can serve a similar purpose. In a broad sense, it is a call to be critical on all information you received, but to encourage its usage, I want to show you that it is useful in mentally deflecting or crushing negative opinion before it sinks into you (and even better, it can help you in debate!).

I have compiled some tips in challenging opinion. Do note though that it is a list I created from my experience and thought, so it is debatable and expandable. I hope it will be useful for you!


 

“Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat” or Presumption of Innocence

This is the first thing you have to believe: you are not wrong unless you are proven wrong. “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat” means “the burden of proof is on him who declares, not on him who denies”. It is a Latin expression that has become a general rule of evidence in Roman Law and even now in the modern era. So if somebody throw an opinion on you that accuse you of something, do keep you peace of mind. If they can’t present proof to support their opinion, it doesn’t worth your thought.

Aim for the Adjective and Adverb

It is very rare that opinion doesn’t have any adjective and/or adverb. They are the first things you should aim for.  Your room is so messy/ why can’t you do it faster?/ You are so lazy. Notice that “messy” and “lazy” are adjectives, while “faster” is an adverb. You can look at other sentences and find them yourself. Now that you have pinpointed them, let’s move on to another thing…

Indicator

Sometime a very common statement we hear can be an opinion that might be misleading, especially when there’s no clear indicator included. One of the main differences between fact and opinion is the usage of indicator or hard numbers. Factual statement will be something like: 80% of adult female population in Jakarta earn 15% less than average male wages. Opinion statement will be something like: A lot of female in Jakarta earns very small wage. Both tried to send a similar message, but they are different. 80% of adult females is indicator that states majority of adult females (more than 50%), while 15% less than average male wages is indicator that states the amount is lower male’s; both are indicators of equality in pay. You can see that factual statement gives you information that you can assess yourself, while opinion statement just give you a conclusion someone else has made.

So the next time people tell you that you are lazy. Ask them what’s the indicator of laziness. They can’t give it to you? Well, dismiss their statement and don’t think about it.

Credibility

I joined my company’s choir for Independence Day of Indonesia (70th birthday). A day after the event a colleague approached me and tell me that the choir performance was very bad. I ask him if he’s a jury in choir competition. Nope. He’s a senior choir member? Nope. He has degree in choir-logy? Nope. Well, he can shut up ’cause he practically knew nothing about choir. Of course all of that reply I mentioned is just in my mind; in reality, I just smiled and nodded. Got my point?

Validation and Verification

Someone might tell you that they caught you sleeping every time you are in class. Ask that person if everyone in the class can support that statement. That person can’t? Well, don’t let it bother your nice day. A lunatic can cry how the world is going to end today; a shady alternative medicine peddler can advertise that its medicine can cure death; a student can write a phony research paper. But they are not reviewed or supported by acknowledged group of expert or independent party, and so it’s normal, in fact common sense, to doubt them.

 


 

And that is all. It’s the tips that I can think of for the moment. Do you have any other tips to share? Or your own experience? You just want to criticize? Advise? Anything you want to say, put it below on the comment section or the chat box in the right.

Challenge those opinions!

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You might not be the Best and That is Okay

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an excerpt from Ansatsu Kyōshitsu manga by Yūsei Matsui

you can buy it at amazon

 

 

I want to share the excerpt I shown above because I found it relevant for me and I hope it might be relevant for you too. Before you continue reading, please understand that this is just my personal opinion. My high school life was a constant reminder of how different people are in the eyes of society. There was this side of gifted people; genius in academic, or sport, or art, or all of them (not joking, this kind of people exist), and there’s me at the other side; “the others”, people without remarkable achievement. The gifted people received awards, appreciation session in flag ceremonies, and more mentions in speech or documentation. And, guess what, they were the majority in my school. I guess we didn’t really fit in the “winner” culture of the school. We, “the others”, were just like figurants, uncredited actors who play as soldiers killing each other in  the background of a more memorable protagonist vs antagonist fight in a colossal war movie (but we were the minority, so it’s quite confusing). We were not bullied or anything like that, we were just ignored.

Looking back, that treatment of ignorance gave significant impact on us, or maybe just me. It hit my self-esteem and my view on the future. Why do I have to work hard? The gap between me and people above me are constant anyway. It’s an unhealthy thought, but nonetheless persisted.

It took sometime, but I found out about why I was so wrong (never knew it could be so wrong, Boyzone, got the joke? No? Ok, just forget about it). The similar thing with the excerpt above; I don’t have to be like them. I don’t have to be better than them. I don’t have to be the winner in their game. It’s not a competition against them; it has never been a competition. I made such illusion and I always see people above me in my own illusion. It distracted me from the fact that I will always worth more as myself.

And if you’re feeling the same thing like I did before, I hope this post may help you. There is always something in this world where you can never lose to anyone; being you. Be yourself, enjoy yourself, improve yourself, and compete against the present you; because you know that there is no one but you who can be the best of you.

Confusing? Full of nonsense? Welcome to Anton World!

Abusing Concept of Superlative Adjective to Brighten Your Perspective

A picture I found on a pedestrian overpass around Sudirman. Does it relate to the post? No comment.

Have you ever feeling down? Feeling sad? Or, perhaps, even to the point of thinking about quitting?

The conventional doctrine to face such case will be to be optimistic; to tell yourself that you should be grateful for your hardship, to tell yourself that it is not as hard or unfortunate as you think; to stop saying something negative and start saying something positive to change your mindset.

That is all sound and well. It is not my intention to prevent you from following that doctrine. But just in case you want something different, I might have an alternative for you; admit your negative feeling in an awkward way that it doesn’t really sound negative anymore. It involves using superlative adjective and forfeiting some portion of healthy logic.

Just to make things clearer, superlative is a grammatical form that generally involves using -est in the end of the word or putting most in front; to describe an adjective (or adverb) is greater than any other possible degree of the given descriptor. “The Most Bestest” is an example, grammatically wrong, but you got my point.

Let’s start!

It’s the worst day ever!

Woah, that sounds like…a very good thing to say! Why? Because that means you are saying that this is the worst day ever. Clear? No? You are comparing this day with the days that you had in your life so far and the days that you are going to have in your lifespan (days you have not live yet) and you come to the conclusion that none of them are as bad as this day. That means you are sure that tomorrow and days after tomorrow will be better than this day. It is a message of great hope and optimism for the future. So, let’s say it out loudly together: It’s the worst day ever!

Logic to forfeit:

You don’t really have any information about the future and thus you are only comparing this day with the days you have lived in the past. It is just a complaint, really. Nothing positive here.

Warning of potential backlash:

Don’t use this superlative concept on something positive. Example: “it’s the best day ever”. If we use the same concept, then, we’re telling ourselves that tomorrow will be worse than today. Capish?

Do you have any other example? Drop it in the comment section below, or the communicator on the right bar side, and I will add it to this post. I will appreciate them! XOXO from El Presidente of Anton World

Esai untuk GUIM (berhasil ditolak)

Saudara pembaca tersayang, sebenarnya ada beberapa draft yang sudah sekitar seperempat atau setengah saya tulis, tapi karena tidak disiplin menulis lagi selama kuliah dan liburan, sehingga hiatus cukup panjang (maaf ya T_T), jadinya di tengah perjalanan menulis saya menabrak jalan buntu baik dalam pemilihan kata maupun pemilihan pendekatan untuk menyampaikan maksud saya (makin ditulis malah makin bingung hoho). Karena itu, posting kali ini saya isi esai GUIM yang saya buat sudah cukup lama (kalau tidak salah judulnya: Pendidikan Berkarakter) dengan cara penulisan favorit mahasiswa (copas maksudnya) dari esai yang saya kirimkan waktu itu ke Raihan (Panitia Gerakan UI Mengajar yang kacamata). Selamat menikmati! 

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Pertama-tama izinkan saya memulai tulisan saya dengan mengutip seorang Nona Sue[i], yang mengatakan;”It’s full of knowledge like a file cabinet with maps; and shortcuts for figuring things out.” Pernyataannya dibuat sebagai acuan terhadap otak, saat peserta didiknya merasa tidak mampu mengerjakan sebuah soal. Otak, sebuah organ yang dimiliki manusia sejak ia dilahirkan, yang dilindungi sedemikian rupa oleh tengkorak yang begitu keras, yang mengontrol hampir segala aktifitas organ lainnya, yang sedemikian penting bagi manusia, dan yang juga sering dianggap remeh hanya sekedar sebagai repositori pengetahuan. Bahkan lebih daripada itu, dalam perspektif pendidikan konvensional di Indonesia, seringkali manusia sebagai peserta didik hanya dianggap sekedar sebagai sebuah wadah kosong yang akan diisi oleh sang pendidik. Saya rasa adalah perlu untuk meninjau kembali apa arti dari pendidikan itu sendiri. “Education” berasal dari sebuah kata kerja dalam bahasa Latin “educare” yang secara harfiah dapat diartikan sebagai “menarik keluar” atau “memimpin keluar”. Kedua arti tersebut menunjukkan bahwa telah ada sesuatu yang tersimpan yang berusaha untuk dibawa keluar, bukan memasukkan apapun kedalam. Entah, apakah filosofi ini juga yang merupakan dasar dari pendidikan yang diterapkan di nusantara, atau memang pada dasarnya perspektif pendidikan menurut budaya Indonesia adalah pengisian wadah kosong, saya rasa sekarang anda dapat melihat perbedaan yang cukup substansial diantara keduanya. Proses pendidikan dengan melihat manusia sebagai kotak berharga yang telah menyimpan harta karun berupa pengetahuan akan berusaha untuk mengeluarkan harta tersebut sehingga dapat digunakan, sedangkan proses pendidikan yang melihat manusia sebagai kotak berharga yang kosong akan berusaha menjejalkan pengetahuan kedalam kotak tersebut, betapa rendahnya derajat manusia seandainya benar dilihat dengan cara demikian.

Implikasi dari perbedaan filosofis perspektif pendidikan tersebut nyata dan tidak dapat dienyahkan begitu saja. Michel Thomas, seorang guru bahasa terkemuka di dunia, dalam proses belajar mengajarnya menerapkan prinsip “jika pelajar belum belajar, pengajar belum mengajar” (If the learner hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught). Prinsip tersebut hanya mungkin untuk diterapkan jika pengajar ditempatkan sebagai pihak yang bertanggung jawab untuk menolong para pelajar mengembangkan diri, bukan menempatkan pelajar sebagai pihak yang bertanggung jawab untuk menerima ilmu dari pengajar, karena jika demikian, yang menjadi tempat pertama dipersalahkan ketika proses belajar mengajar tidak berhasil adalah kapasitas dari pelajar itu sendiri, yang konsekuensi nyatanya sebagai contoh dalam masyarakat dapat dilihat ketika murid yang gagal memberikan performa sesuai ekspektasi dalam evaluasi mendapatkan cap “bodoh” atau “gagal”.

Demikian halnya dengan pendidikan karakter. Dasar dari pendidikan karakter harus melihat manusia sebagai pemilik dari sebuah karakter yang mulia, bukan sebagai tanah liat yang akan dibentuk menjadi karakter yang diinginkan oleh pendidik. Karena siapakah saudara dan saya, menganggap diri kita Tuhan, berusaha untuk membentuk ulang ciptaan-Nya yang paling mulia diantara makhluk lain sesuai dengan kehendak diri, sedangkan tidak seorangpun manusia sempurna. Adakah Pancasila atau segala pedoman apapun yang ditulis dengan tangan dan pikiran manusia dapat menyatakan satu hal benar ataupun salah secara absolut sedangkan sejarah telah mencatat bahwa suatu hal yang benar adalah salah dilain hari dan sebaliknya? Jika tidak, maka janganlah kiranya seseorang menuntut orang lain untuk bertumbuh menjadi seperti ini atau seperti itu, tetapi baiklah ia menunjukkan kualitas terbaik dalam hidupnya dari apa yang ia percaya sehingga orang lain dapat melihat bahwa hal itu baik dan mengikutinya. Pendidik ada untuk menjaga peserta didik agar tidak mengambil karakter yang bukan karakter mereka sebenarnya melalui nasehat dan pendampingan. Keputusan untuk mengikuti karakter ini atau itu berada ditangan setiap individu, sehingga kemudian mereka dapat membuktikan apakah karakter tersebut ada didalam diri mereka dan mungkin dalam versi mereka sendiri. Perspektif ini dapat memberikan setidaknya dua hal yang baik. Pertama, kemungkinan penggunaan pendidikan sebagai kendaraan pihak tertentu untuk mengindoktrinasi suatu ajaran dapat dipersempit dan mungkin dikalahkan sama sekali. Kedua, pendidikan tidak seolah menjadi sebuah pabrik robot yang menciptakan orang-orang dengan pikiran yang sama dan perilaku yang sama, tetapi orang-orang dengan pikiran bebas yang berkembang sesuai karakter yang mereka pandang baik.

Akhir kata, izinkan saya mengutip Dr. Hubertus Kasan Hidajat yang mengatakan,“Indonesia memiliki kurikulum terpadat di dunia”[ii]. Pernyataan tersebut menunjukkan bahwa bahkan sebelum adanya penambahan jam belajar untuk subjek-subjek yang dianggap mendidik akhlak seseorang, para peserta didik telah dijejalkan sedemikian rupa dengan pelajaran-pelajaran, apalagi kemudian hari dengan rancangan kurikulum baru yang ingin menambah lagi beban pelajaran. Fakta telah mencatat, kebajikan tidak diajarkan dalam ruang kelas, tetapi ditunjukkan melalui contoh nyata yang berlangsung terus menerus, sehingga pendidikan berkarakter sesungguhnya dimulai dari pendidik, bukan peserta didik.


[i] Miss Sue adalah private tutor Michael Ohrer yang juga ditampilkan dalam film The Blind Side

[ii] Indonesia Lawyers Club, 2 Oktober 2012

Similar in a Funny Way

Have you heard about Jesus, my dear reader? And no, I’m not trying to christen you, at least not directly through this post. He admitted he came from heaven, he knew what’s it like; a lot of room for everyone and very comfortable for everyone, he also knew how to get there. And somehow, he was so eager to persuade people to come with him and live there with him.

You know what, I realized Jesus’s behavior has a similarity with a particular phenomenon around me. I was watching a news about mudik, a term used to describe an exodus of urban population back to their hometown, since many urban population comes from rural area or another town, especially Jakarta dwellers who have origin from many corners of Indonesia. These “I’ll be home for Christmas or Lebaran” people tend to bring their relatives to Jakarta with so many reasons: Jakarta is a big city, there’s a lot of job around, a lot of money to make, a lot of facility and luxury and technological awesomeness to enjoy, yup, and I, your dear relative, am the witness to all of that and I have a house there where you can stay temporarily and I know how to get there and how to live in the environment, so, just come with me and it will be fun, I promise! And that, my friend, is how Jakarta got overpopulated.

Now, don’t you think those people have similarity with Jesus in a funny way? The big point is, I think, both of them have really get to the better place (Jakarta or heaven), and that good experience drives them to ask people they loved to come over. What do you think? Share it with me!

P.S. Probably the last post on 2012

Are They The Saints?

That’s the video from U2 ft. Green Day, a cover of the original song from The Skids. The video depicts the aftermath of catastrophe Katrina on New Orleans, with all the flood and destruction left, resulted in food and medical shortage, and so it shows how the people were in dire need of aid as soon as possible. Then, the video shows how the army sent to Iraq was redeployed to aid the suffering New Orleans, with the military personnel were given name “the saints”. The video ends the tale with letting the audience see “Not as seen on TV” sign while the vehicles fading to nothingness. Intriguing, isn’t it?

I am very interested at “The Saints” part. We can see that the title was given to the modern “men-at-arms”, soldiers with great strength and power, wielding fatal devices and controlling deadly arsenals, capable of putting many lives to end, or as the video has shown, are also capable of saving lives. They are entrusted with that power because they are “saints”, seen as perfectly wise and presumed will use the power for the greater good. But as the video showed: “Not as seen on TV”, it can also be translated as “Not as imagined”, it is possible that reality is in contrary to what we hope. There is no “saints”, not in this term. Everybody has flaws and misjudgments are not something extraordinary. There is a very great risk on putting deadly power on human and expecting that person to act for the good of all. It is possible the power will be used to harm unjustly whether  deliberately or not.

Now, the issue of whether death penalty should be used or not, in my opinion, is not different. Should we entrusted judges with the power to legally terminate lives? Can we trust them enough with it? As we’ve seen before, there is no “saints”. It is possible for judges, as they are humans, to make mistakes, and lives would be the cost. Can society accepts that cost?