Seemingly since the establishment of civilization, the human race has been comprised of different subsets of the population who are drawn together for a variety of reasons like religion, ethnicity or even in some cases ideology.
While a certain level of agreement on at least one defining principle is inherent within a subset, universal conclusions are nearly impossible. We all go through different experiences and use them to create our own unique perspectives on life so it would be literally impossible to find another person who agrees with your personal perception of “perfection.”
There are very obvious instances of these subsets on full display, political parties are certainly one of the most prevalent ways we group people together. Republicans think this and that about this and that and Democrats feel the exact opposite. That’s how our world is portrayed and a majority of people are fine with accepting this as “the way things are.”
I’m using politics as an example because the differences are so obvious and transparent but the mindset of putting a label on people as if it encapsulates their entire identity is a detriment to open and progressive solutions.
Basically we as people have an extremely difficult time looking at the grey area that exists within the many contentious and complex issues incessantly shoved in our faces. We refuse to accept the concept of beliefs and passions maintaining a certain level of nuance. Almost everything in our world should be viewed with ambiguity, and yet we’ve perpetuated the misconception of mutual exclusivity.
Feeling a certain way about something doesn’t mean you’re ignorant or you’ve disregarded every alternative. There are a myriad of sociological reasons that have led to this defensive outlook on intellectual discussion and it’s destroying any chance we have at real progression.
Recently it seems we’ve abandoned what might have been the last semblance of subtlety. Americans exist in a world of emotional reactions based on instinct rather than intellect. We use manipulative terms like: Pro-Life, Death Tax and War on Something. Quite frankly, it’s all just pretty fucking lazy.
Emotions are the enemy of intellect.
If I say I’m Pro-Choice it doesn’t mean I want abortion used as a form of birth control. I don’t have to LOVE Barack Obama simply because I don’t think he’s the Worst President EVER and believing 9/11 was NOT an Inside Job doesn’t mean I’m blindly sipping on Kool-Aid and eating up everything I’m told. Shit, I mixed metaphors.
America has more than its fair share of ignorance but a difference in opinion doesn’t mean the person holding this alternative view hasn’t properly researched and considered the topic being discussed. People are constantly equating dissent with ignorance.
And that’s the problem with Debates/Discussions/Arguments in our current society. You get more support and attention for devaluing your opponents than for providing evidence to support your own opinions. You can tell me more about the guy you’re not voting for than the one you claim to support so fervently.
That is a major problem.
I’m not advocating for people to avoid research when formulating their ideals but if the sole purpose of your research is to handpick data and analysis that exclusively supports your view than you’re not really on a quest for knowledge and information but fuel for your own brand of propaganda.
If someone is spewing ignorant vitriolic rhetoric based on absolutely nothing; you are free, nay, encouraged, to disregard their opinion. However, you can be diagrammatically opposed to somebody’s views while still respecting the reasons they’ve formulated their ideals. (This assumes their opinion has a basis in reality!)
You hardly ever see an argument or debate end with “I can see where you’re coming from but I just disagree.”
There can’t be any happy mediums, we have to get the last word, put that final dagger in the heart while remaining triumphant over the charred corpse of our ignorant, misguided opponent. I use the term opponent very intentionally because that’s the outlook most seem to have when entering a “discussion.”
This person is wrong, they’re not as intelligent as you, they haven’t done the level of research you have, they’re a stupid, ignorant, sheep who needs to be illuminated with the knowledge you’ve scoured the Earth to obtain. They need YOU to reveal the ultimate truths of the world. You didn’t like my favorite movie? Well you probably just didn’t UNDERSTAND IT! You occasionally enjoy passing the time with vapid reality shows? You’re literally the reason America has problems!
Personal differences aren’t seen as intellectual diversity but ignorant anomalies. Some people seem to be under the impression that the rest of the world is one strategically placed blog share away from recognizing how stupid they’ve been for disagreeing with you.
The most depressing aspect is this is all our own fault. I’ve been guilty of this behavior for years. So now that we’ve arrived at this point we have options, we can either continue down this path of being aggressively cynical and combative to anything outside of our comfort zone or we can grow up and start having adult conversations in a way that’s suitably respectful of the monumentally important issues facing us in the world today. We need to stop communicating our most passionate ideals through sound bites and memes.
I’m back, thanks for reading.