Opposing views

I was making my way through Dalio’s book Principles, and a passage stuck out to me:

When two people believe opposite things, chances are that one of them is wrong.

Principles, Ray Dalio, pg. 190

This led me down a rabbit hole of thought, and I’m not convinced of the premise. For every belief I have, there is someone who will disagree with me. But it’s because belief isn’t a statement of factual information, and maybe I’m just caught up in the wording.

Facts can be proved and disproved. Beliefs are much harder to handle in that regard, and while Dalio suggests a doctrine of thoughtful disagreement to get to the bottom of a problem, to “find out which view is true”, I can’t help but think that every belief is true, while at the same time it may not be.

This duality of truth/untruth in belief causes many disagreements. The book is about business principles, and I can see where this methodology of thoughtful disagreement can work exceptionally well for deciding matters where differing viewpoints may crop up – marketing practices, manufacturing, product development, and investment strategies. Beliefs in that sense will have some form of comparable quantitative data to support or contradict them.

But beliefs that revolve around more fundamental human conditions – religion, politics, life purpose, etc. – these are much more difficult to quantify. Likely that Dalio intended to avoid that train of thought in this section, but I felt like getting my head around it anyway.