February 6, 2011
First for all you American football fans, Happy Super Bowl Sunday. With that in mind I began thinking about opinions and perspective. As of late I have taken notice of many things around me that seam to be at odds with each other at home, work, and school. When looking at many of them I see that people are arguing more about opinion and not about facts. For me if I know I am right and have the proof to back it up I will argue a point until it is fixed or I pass out from lack of oxygen. For example (beware Football references will be excessively used today), if I were to argue with someone as to who hold the record for most completed passes with no interceptions (Tom Brady, NE) and someone were to tell me I was wrong then I have the documented proof to back it up and argue the point. This is a legit and usually brief dispute because it is fact. To say Christianity is a largest religion in the world would also be an arguable fact as it too is documented (http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html) so for someone to say my religion is bigger than yours would be a legit and brief debate.
The problem in this day and time is that instead of arguing about facts people want to fight about abstract ideas and opinions. Saying “Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning” is my opinion and not a valid argument as I may judge by a different standard. The other day for instance I was in a store talking to a friend when I made the remark “I can’t stand the Colts (Indianapolis, IN Football team for those not in the US)” and a customer turned around and said “Excuse ME!!!!” as if he were a player. And then stated that I am dumb and don’t know what I am talking about. So … I don’t know my own taste in teams? So now I am in a position where someone wants to argue about two differing opinions, a fight with no winner.
When we encounter this type of logic there is rarely anything we can do to change someone else’s opinion. Yes I could go into a fact sheet and say “The Patriots have won more Super Bowls in the last ten years than the Colts” but does that make them the better team? No. So what do we do? I take a step back and remind them that they are angry for me not liking their team when as a matter of perspective that means that they don’t like mine. So who is right and who is wrong in this case? The answer is simple the one that is right is the one that chooses not to argue. That makes the one that looses the one that argues. In each case both can be right or wrong depending on actions.
On our main page under what Jedi Believe the second comment is as follows: “In working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, degree of ability, age, etc.” In many cases all we see is the first part of the statement about discriminating about race, age, sexual orientation, and degree of ability (disability). How many of us noticed the “etc.” at the end. What this means to me is ALL other types of discrimination. Discrimination - treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person orthing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather thanon individual merit. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/discrimination )To me this includes a persons opinion what they like or don’t like, etc. Such as, banning a person for liking chocolate and not strawberry would be discriminating.
So what? Who really cares about opinions any ways? Do you? I would at first tell you that you should but, would that be discriminating against your desire not to care? Or should I change your perspective a bit to say that if others are not allowed having an opinion different than your own then do you really have your own opinion or just that which is authorized. How do you feel when you are told that you can not believe in what you want? Are you going to be the type that only wants a world full of like minded people all dressing the same acting the same? Perspective again, how would the world function if everyone thought the same? The distinction in work divisions would be gone everyone would want to do the same job and therefore we would not have cooks and mechanics and doctors. Next time you are confronted with an argument based solely on opinion and not fact try to see it from the other side. Try to empathize with their right to believe as they may. Let us not allow the flavor interest of a food or even sports teams interfere with our peaceful lives. How much stress will you allow yourself to endure if someone does not like your hair or clothes? Let them be as they may and live in the peace of diversity.