I have to admit, I am completely intrigued with human ideas, thought, and opinion. My favorite part of blog posts are the comments, and the best part of the newspaper is the opinion page. When talking with people, I am generally the one doing most of listening. In fact, I find that the more I listen, the more people are willing to talk. Often, they will talk with apparent and utter disregard for anything that I may have to add to the “conversation.” Just talk, talk, talk, because somebody is paying attention.
And that’s okay with me. As mentioned, I enjoy hearing the opinions of others. I take great pleasure in reading about what everybody thinks. John is upset because of this and Suzy agrees with Pat and Mike thinks people should see it his way. You think this, he thinks that, and they think something else entirely. I just love it. And, the good news is that it never ends! People just keep on blabbing their mouths like they have a clue about something in the first place. Reading opinions is truly an excellent way to spend a 30-minute lunch break.
Every now and then, when the everyday political banter ceases to amuse, I will Google for a phrase that will provide more fascinating bloviations. For example, a quick search for “atheism vs Christianity” and I am off to the races. After honing in on an interesting post somewhere in the blogosphere, I will read through and check out the comments. Almost without exception, anyone publicly expressing an opinion or belief regarding the supernatural (or lack thereof) is met with swift and opinionated opposition.
Some of the most heated, intensely expressed opinion happens in the comment sections and forums of sites featuring content related to religion, atheism, or anything in between. Reading these opinions really gets my juices flowing, as I watch fervent emotion duke it out with pressing logic. People carry on about their particular belief as if they were absolutely, undeniably correct and everyone who disagrees were a lying, naive fool. Of course, this egocentric, argumentative behavior is not unique to any one type of person or ideology — everyone does it.
Opinion after opinion disagreeing and arguing and insisting and insulting and on and on it goes. People refuse to even consider the fact that their ideas and opinions may not encompass the end-all, absolute truth. It’s like, there is just no way that the mere possibility of any error whatsoever could exist. People think so highly of themselves that every opinion is stated in absolute terms. Each and every person has an opinion about every single thing and nobody is willing to consider anyone else’s opinion as even possibly valid. Many times, I find this to be the case. And, although I have managed to find humor in the entire charade, it is a rather dark and depressing state of affairs.
What do I think? I think that deep down, people realize that they don’t really know what’s going on. Unfortunately, the more people think they know, the less likely it is that will consider the possibility that they are wrong. Is anyone infallible? Do people make mistakes? Are people ever wrong about their deep-seated opinions and ideas? Why is it so difficult for people to open up to new ideas and new possibilities? Why are people so afraid to change their opinions, ideas, and beliefs? In my experience, the more a person refuses to acknowledge the inherent truths found in opposing views, the more likely it is that the person really doesn’t believe in their own opinion.
So, as I continue to read people’s opinions and listen to their ideas about life, twinkies, zombies and death, I will continue to look for those rare individuals who are secure and agile enough in their thinking to openly and sincerely contemplate opposing ideas. I admire people who, upon encountering a barrage of argumentative discourse, are able to take it all in, openly consider valid points, and change their ideas accordingly. It is unfortunate that such enlightened minds are so very rare. Show me the person who is willing to change their opinions, and I will show you a person who desires to grow intellectually and improve their thinking.