Last week I made the assertion that we shouldn’t shy away from subjects that cause friction. We should embrace subjects that can be divisive. If we follow this path and take the road with more thorns, we’re inevitably going to come into conflict with a view that opposes our own.
‘Oh no!’ you cry
‘Oh yes!’ say I
There’s a lot of hate for opinions in contemporary culture, it seems. Even though everyone loves to share their views. There’s something to be said for the guy who made the comparison to arseholes. But why do you think social media is so popular? There’s an image doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment, that suggests inserting your opinions rectally.
Suggesting that everyone keeps their opinions to themselves is really stupid. Opinions aren’t bad. If nobody pointed out that they thought something could be done better, or that something wasn’t working as well as it could, nothing would progress.
The difference, and defining factor as to whether your opinion is valid, is how the idea is communication. There’s a reason why people don’t like being beaten about the head with the Bible, or the Quran, or the God Delusion, or the Communist Manifesto. It’s because the idiots that like to do that type of thing generally don’t want to hear the opposing thought. But here’s the thing:
Your opinion is not valid if you’re not willing to have someone reject it.
If you want your thoughts to be taken seriously, you have to be prepared for people to point out the inevitable flaws in it. There are very few, if any, ideas that are invulnerable. Your own are no different. But that’s the point: that you discuss whatever it is that you think.
If you rant and rave about the state of current economics and propose a solution, you can’t continue to rant and rave if someone counters your idea with their own, and continue to be taken seriously. This is also not suggesting that every dispute has a solution. You don’t have to reach an agreement, but sharing the ideas is important. Thinking is important. When you listen to other people’s thoughts and opinions you generally don’t have a choice in taking them into some form of consideration. If you have a response, offer it! Half of the time you won’t have a response until a couple of days later when you’ll suddenly be able to clearly state why you disagree with what the other person was saying. Congratulations: you have an unconscious. The result is simply that you will be that much more confident in your own ideas, having had them subjected to some testing, and finding a good reason to maintain them.
What if the other thought was better? Fine. You don’t lose anything by taking it on, or using parts of it for your own ends. That idea, that thought, can only benefit from your input, from your experiences, and your perspective. It’s new blood. Your thoughts aren’t a competition: Don’t turn them into one because nobody wins anything if they’re just dogmatically defending something for the sake of defending it.
Swapping ideas and thoughts creates chaos due to the inevitable conflict it creates. Chaos breaks the established thought and from there we get change. Change creates progress.