|Posted by sean berry on June 5, 2011 at 2:57 PM|
Once in a blue moon, I will ask people what they think I should write about and by doing so I have had the opportunity to write about some interesting subjects. The latest suggestion I received was on ‘opinions’ and what delicious irony there was in asking someone’s opinion on what to write about and the subject turning out to be ‘opinions’. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one,” and how many of us would really argue with that statement? If we look up the definition of opinion, we find that it’s a personal view or a judgment that lacks sufficient proof to be proved certain. When it comes to what we like as individuals, it is all in the name of opinion as there is little certainty in what any individual will adore or hate for that matter.
How important are opinions though and how have they changed over the course of history? My answer is not to say that opinions have changed but the reach of the individual is greater now than ever before. We live in an age of “insta-judgment” whereupon people can twitter about how bad a movie sucks while they are at the theater watching it and we can witness people across the planet via live television and chat the same way on a web cam. So nowadays, any time someone has an opinion, you can hear about it very quickly and though a lot of what we hear we may not agree with, it still enters into our mindscape. As it is our natural tendency to adapt to changing situations, obviously, the quicker the feedback, the sooner a response can come about and thus changes can be made. Just think of how much society has changed since communications have improved?
Opinions may only be fleeting sometimes because they are not always rooted in fact, but as most politicians can attest, a well worded opinion can dismount a solid fact. People tend to hear what they want to hear and the opinion is the mental pressure gauge of any subject we can pass judgment upon. Even the trivial things that people can talk about like ‘opinions’ or comics or TV shows, movies, etc, still give a window into the minds of other people. I have always thought that every time I get to know someone I know a little bit more about the world because much of our world is what it is because of every one playing their own part. This doesn’t mean that I seek out every single persons opinion in some futile effort to become one with the whole of the human population but I am always curious as to what people think on any subject they choose to talk about because one never really has to ask another person for their opinion: they are given quite often without prompt or command.
It’s an interesting age we live in as technology is beginning to separate us physically while on another front it is interconnecting us mentally. Facebook and Twitter are technological realms of opinion and with the ability to have all your close friends a few keystrokes away, there is no wonder why each have attained their respective growth and popularity. There is some comfort in knowing to some degree what others are up to when much of our life seems like an endless stockpile of random and unexpected events. Predictability in the face of unavoidable chaos is the name of the game but a futile battle it is sometimes.
Let’s not overlook the principle benefit of opinions and that is sheer pleasure, for who doesn’t like to put their two cents in about something? It’s why websites like the one this blog is being published on are achieving more and more success over the years because we are social creatures and there a many among us who embrace their innate curiosity in others. Who knows what’s in store for us but one thing for sure is that we’ll all have something to say about it and some people we’ll want to listen to and others we will pray for them to shut up. Like it or not, the people in our world define themselves further and further with every statement they make and the flow of knowledge, the path of entertainment, and the direction of science, is all is guided in some subtle way by the opinions of others both important and inconsequential. No man is an island unto himself when so much of our identity is comprised of the knowledge of others whereupon they themselves got it from someone else who got it from yet another person and so on and so forth. So now you know what potential the power of an opinion can have, what will you choose to do?