Monday, September 27, 2010

Just my opinion*

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” ~Bertrand Russell

Recently I find myself reading the newspaper and coming across stories that just don’t make any sense. Sometimes the stories are so ridiculous I would swear it’s out of a movie. I’ve sometimes thought of writing into a paper and letting them know what I think of their poor coverage of a story or their clearly biased point of view. But I never have. I worry that my opinion will offend people.

Even in everyday life I feel like I may be too opinionated and I wonder if I’m too confrontational, if I should let things go more often. Today I was watching “What Would You Do?”– a hidden camera show that uses actors to set up strange but realistic scenarios and watches how bystanders react. It’s a psychology experiment/reality show and as with many psychology experiments it’s appalling and sometimes shocking how people react to the scenarios (for other examples of such results see Bystander Effectand The Stanford Prison Experiment).

And it reaffirms my need to express my opinions. I share only in the hopes of sharing what little I may know and I am always open to dialogue and an exchange of opinions. I have never been one to shy away from a discussion and have often spent hours talking to friends about politics, religion, philosophy etc. I have many friends with different experiences and therefore different perspectives. Whether you agree with me or not, I enjoy hearing what others have to say. Acknowledging that I don’t know everything helps me keep an open mind so that I’m able to try and understand as many points of view as possible. I find it easy to play the Devil’s Advocate – in fact it’s hard for me not to. Some people may think it’s best to keep their opinion to themselves and avoid potential confrontation. Me, I would rather question things too often rather than not enough. And on those occasions when I have witnessed injustices like the ones set up by “What Would You Do?” I have often interfered where others may have just walked away. Some people think it’s best to mind your own business. I think sometimes it’s necessary not to. But, that’s just my opinion.

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Written September 4th, but I didn't get around to posting it.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!