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Winston

Having an Opinion

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That's become somewhat of a thinly veiled insult, calling someone "opinionated". It seems to set down the marker that the person with the opinion has closed their mind to new ideas, and is hostile to criticism.

Here's my take:

Having an opinion means that you have the acumen to reason, and the maturity to stand by your reasoned thoughts. It doesn't mean that you want to argue, and are spoiling for a fight all the time. It simply means that you believe in something. Being willing to "defend" an opinion is not hubris, partisanship or arrogance. It is confidence based on experience tempered with logic.

I write what I know. It pisses some off, because it challenges their opinion. I honestly don't care "how you feel" about how I see the facts. That's how I see them. If you see them differently, write how you see them. Feeling the need to attack another's opinion only shows the weakness and insecurity in your own. It is always easier to break-down than build-up. Or attack what you don't understand. Or fear.

The Long Knives are sheathed due to current policy. But the daggers still come out on a regular basis. They are used by those that oh so want to feel better about themselves through a virtue-signal stealth attack. I've been stabbed before for having an opinion. I will not wilt and retreat.

Writing without opinion is dross. It is a soulless journey into the depths of conformist brain-death. Is the goal of writing improvement to make every writer JK Rowling or Steven King? Or, is the task at hand to enable writers to tell their story, in their voice? The world is imperfect. I am imperfect. My opinion and voice are imperfect. But I am not parroting someone else for the Good of the Collective.

I'd say "I'm sorry" if my voice offends anyone. But I'm not sorry. We need to challenge one another. A heterogeneous ecosystem will die. It is ironic to see the religious zeal that some place on bio-diversity, yet actively suppress diversity of thought. But that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. My opinion is that kind of thinking is unequivocally hypocritical.

Should I include more "I feel" disclaimers to soften my words? Cite my sources, so you don't have to look up stuff yourself? Police my language to prevent anyone from being "triggered"?
The world isn't a Freshman English class. No one truly learns through rote training and conditioning (like a dog). We learn by exploring, comparing and collaborating. Formulas are great for math, not for people.

If I was as much of an a-hole as some of you think, I would just keep my mouth shut. After all, most of you here will have to deal with this world longer than I will. (good luck with that). Y'all can play the blame-game, sit on the pity-pot, that is seriously up to you.
Or, we can talk.
In my humble opinion, writing is still by far the most effective form of communication. We can use our words to find common ground, solve problems and REASON. It's messy, but necessary. Limiting words, thoughts and opinions is the path to a stagnating, dying society.

But that is on you. I'm just one guy, with an opinion.

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  1. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Revelation 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

    16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.


    Kind of says it all. You are in an environment here that thrives on fantasy, emotion, and feelings, to expect otherwise is naive.
  2. bdcharles's Avatar
    My personal opinion on opinions is that it doesn't matter whether they're true or not, or correct or not, or well-reasoned or what-have-you. The purpose of an opinion is not to express a truth but to express group membership and one's own identity and place in the world. And actually, that's far more useful. Early humans didn't care a fig whether the world was round or flat as log as they could overpower a stag or some other animal, and club together for warmth and society. I personally don't believe that modern humans are so different. Yes, knowledge is power, but power is also power. We have, should we choose to use it, the capacity for reason and logic and understanding but that doesn't mean that's all we can do. It doesn't also mean that what we reason out is always used for reasonable, truth-heavy, honest purposes.

    If we feel that some people are trying to shut us down, it might be our opinion that they fear what we have to say, or don't understand it, or that their opinion is challenged and something in them is triggered as a result. Again I would say that's an identity statement rather than a truth one. Looked at objectively, if we say we don't care what others feel about our opinions, then, true or not, that puts us outside their group. It presents something potentially inimical to it. That's why those other people react as they do. I put it to such outsiders however that they (okay, at times, "we") are not so different. Blogs like these are a case in point. If we are confident in our opinions, why vocalise it? I suggest its because we do feel attacked which means we do care about the opinions of others. Heresy to suggest it, I know, but most people, under it all, do - apart from perhaps sociopaths, and I've seen no evidence of any of those here. Of course we care. We've by and large evolved to, because the ones that didn't failed to survive for long.

    People often present this "I don't care what others think" aspect as a show of strength. But if that were true, they'd never say it. They'd just be it. There's this narrative that caring what others think is weakness and drives conformity. And I suppose, in a way it is, in terms of who could survive longer on their own. But surviving on one's own is not our default, optimal state. If one is having to do that, something's already gone wrong somewhere upstream and everything thereafter is damage limitation. The strongest state is accepting that we may have to conform to the group to thrive which means occasionally being vulnerable. I suppose it ultimately boils down to what is important to us - quality of life, or independence, or maybe something else.

    JMO though
  3. Winston's Avatar
    PW, clear, concise and to the point, as usual.


    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles
    t... Blogs like these are a case in point. If we are confident in our opinions, why vocalise it? I suggest its because we do feel attacked which means we do care about the opinions of others...

    ...I suppose it ultimately boils down to what is important to us - quality of life, or independence, or maybe something else.

    JMO though
    I'm good with what you're saying, totally makes sense.
    I would just add that even Libertarian-leaning misfits like myself feel the need, the duty, to occasionally speak-up. It's like the analogy of the teenager, the bottle of Wild Turkey and the car. The culture I grew up in, we thought all those things were compatible. Obviously, they are not. And there was always one "killjoy" in the group telling us to sleep it off, or hiding the keys so we didn't run over people in a drunken stupor and kill someone. When you respect one another, you listen to everyone. Even the killjoy.

    For me, a lot of society looks like that drunken teenager. So yeah, I speak-up. To not do so would be morally repugnant.

    We're constantly drawing and re-drawing the line between "independence" and "quality of life". Some want to swaddle society in bubble wrap, whereas I'd rather let people learn from banging their head once or twice.
    If no one could ever be hurt, some would consider that Nirvana. I would see that as Hell. No struggle or pain means no growth or advancement.

    Just because I want to peel a few layers of bubble wrap off doesn't mean I hate people and want them to be hurt. However, it does get tedious those times when the power goes out, and a cashier can't make change without mechanical help. So, I'm more than a bit biased on the whole "self-reliance" and "think for yourself" dogma. I'm selfish. I want a to deal with tougher, smarter, more resilient citizens. Not through dogma, indoctrination or conformity. But by insisting that people think. Challenge the status quo. Even if it's a buzzkill.
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