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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 521: The Problem with Opinion

We have given ourselves a right to our opinions. Maybe at one time this was all right, but it is not now. We use our opinions to justify our behaviour, as if that makes it all right. Racism is born from opinion. All discrimination is born from opinion. Does that make discrimination all right? Some may say yes, some may say no. All in all, it's a pretty gray area - everyone is 'entitled' to their own opinions, including, among other things, discrimination. Essentially everything boils down to a matter of opinion.

Some people are of the opinion that the current minimum wage in a given country is justified, that it is high enough for a person to be able to survive and support their families.
Some people are of the opinion that animals do not feel pain, or that if they do, that it means less than nothing - therefore making abuse, torture, the food industry and other abuses acceptable.
Some people are of the opinion that homosexual people do not deserve to live.
Some people are of the opinion that mixed-race marriage is an abomination.
Some people are of the opinion that the best way to train an animal is to use force and violence.
Some people are of the opinion that they have no business in other peoples' opinions, even if they are abusive or cruel.
Some people are of the opinion that beating a child is the best way to teach them a lesson.
Some people are of the opinion that rape in certain situations is "OK".
Some people are of the opinion that keeping animals in small cages is educational for children and adults.
Some people are of the opinion that the ends always justify the means.
Some people are of the opinion that you should do whatever is necessary to get what you want and be happy, even if it means accepting the abuse that other people endure as a direct or indirect result.
Some people are of the opinion that global warming is a hoax.
Some people are of the opinion that 9/11 was part of a USA government conspiracy.
Some people are of the opinion that it doesn't matter what gets done to the Earth because Jesus and/or God is due to arrive any day and bring forth the apocalypse where only certain people who are "worthy" - according the the definition held within the Bible - will ascend to Heaven and everyone else will go to Hell and suffer and burn eternally for not living up to "God's" ideals.
Some people are of the opinion that life is sanctified - but only some life.
Some people are of the opinion that living in a (metaphorical or otherwise) cave absolves them from any kind of responsibility pertaining to the abuses that take place daily.
Some people are of the opinion that the things that other people do to hurt or diminish other people is justified, as long as they had "good reason" (ie opinion).

You may agree with some of the things in the list above and disagree with others. That's part of the problem. Another part of the problem is that our opinions have made everything in the world subjective, so that we cannot even look at a set of irrefutable facts with clarity and objectiveness.

Look back into your earliest memories. Where did you pick up all the opinions and belief systems you have? From your family, your environment. If you had been born in another time or another place then your opinions and beliefs would not be the same as they are now. You are who you think you are simply because someone else (many someones, to be more accurate) shaped you to be this way. Your view of the world is coloured according to whatever your opinions are. You may look at a gay couple and think "disgusting!", or you may look at them and think "they are brave to be themselves in a world like this." Why do you not simply see two people who have chosen to be in a relationship together?

When you think about people living in poverty you may think that they are lazy or you may think that they were simply unlucky - why do you not think of them in terms of whether you would want that life for yourself under any circumstances? Opinion has now become a point of distraction, you do not see what is really happening, you are too busy concentrating on what you think about all these things. You will not move yourself to a point of recognising that we need to implement practical solutions to change these situations, you will remain stuck in your opinion. Most likely you will also be too stubborn to consider anything outside of your own opinion as well. In this way you trap yourself, but also the entire world.

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