My roommate has the ability to be incredibly creative while simultaneously being incredibly intelligent. She demonstrates this most frequently on her own blog, where she writes a post based around a word and its definition. Instead of “nerdy living” she calls it Wordy Living and I think it’s such a good idea that I’m borrowing it for this post.
Opinion (n.) – a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge
I live in the great state of North Carolina. For the most part, we get things right. We can start our day with a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean then drive a few hours west and end our day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winters rarely bring bad weather, and when they do it’s at least entertaining. In the eight years I’ve lived here, I really can’t recall anyone arguing about anything other than shades of blue (Carolina or Duke) and types of barbecue (Eastern or Western). Until recently that is. With the recent rulings about bathroom laws (did you know that was a thing?) among other things, it seems like North Carolinians are becoming incredibly vocal about their opinions these days.
Opinions are tricky little boogers, don’t you think? Our culture is permeated with opinions and opportunities to voice those opinions. Not only can we have an opinion about what social media platform we want to use, we can use that platform to voice our opinions about any and everything. Sometimes I would rather not know about someone’s opinion because I would probably like them a little more.
The whole concept of opinions captivated my attention on the way to work this morning. A friend on Facebook posted a sarcastic and witty statement about current events in North Carolina and how we’re distracted from real issues at hand. For the first few seconds, I was impressed by the wit and clicked “Like”. Then it hit me that we are all just slinging opinions at each other, or as Mr. Webster referred to it, we are slinging “views or judgments formed about something, not necessarily based on face or knowledge” at each other pleading our cases and finding clever ways to bring others to our side.
It amazes me how the same thing – an opinion – can start a friendship or tear one apart. We bond over things like soda preferences and the Star Trek/Star Wars debate (live long and prosper), but we put up walls and hurl insults when we start sharing opinions about things like God and equal rights. This one thing can create laughter and turn right around and spark a vicious, visceral reaction. Have you ever thought it like that?
As I was processing all of this information, I had this thought:
Just because someone does not have the same opinion as me does not automatically make their opinion wrong.
Typing that out didn’t have quite the effect I was thinking it would because the internal smart ass in my brain is saying “Yeah, but what if their opinion is like pro-Hitler? Does that make them right?” Well, no. The point I am trying to articulate is that opinions are personal, and often not based on fact or knowledge. Instead of getting fired up in online comment sections, we should try seeing things from different sides for understanding. That’s the only real way we will make progress…but that’s just my opinion.