In the interest of full disclosure, I came up with the title AFTER I’d written the post just to see if it would catch more people’s attention. But then I realized, in my own personal opinion, listening to the opinion of another that may differ from your own for the sake of learning and the desire to gather additional information is, quite possibly, one of the greatest indicators of intelligence. So, since you’re already here, why not stick around and see what else I’ve got to say on the subject? What do you have to lose?
What do I have to offer the world? What mark do I want to leave behind as a result of having existed? I was scrolling through Facebook this evening and the more I saw and read, the less interested I found myself in spending my time browsing through the news feed. I think I mostly just kept scrolling in the hopes of finding yet another tasteless, vulgar, slightly offensive, and wildly hilarious meme to make me laugh and make it worth it.
There are so many things out there that people have strong opinions on and want to draw attention to or discuss. I think this open format where anyone can share their thoughts and feelings is great, but I don’t know if it’s really doing that much to bring us any closer together. It’s as if people are dividing up into separate groups more and more every day, for and against just about everything.
You’ve got those that want tougher gun control laws vs. those that support the 2nd amendment at all costs. Then there’s the whole NFL taking a knee controversy and those who think it’s disrespectful to our country and our veterans vs. those that feel the right to protest in such a way is a form of honoring the sacrifice our veterans made to protect our freedoms, namely the first amendment, by exercising it. And, of course, we can’t forget the Pro-Trump vs. Anti-Trump debate that seems likely to plague the remaining duration of his presidency.
We’ve got the pro-cannabis culture vs. those still stuck in the reefer madness mindset, the ever present racial conflict, the arguments for and against the reproductive rights of women, and countless other issues to fight about. We can’t even seem to agree on whether or not global warming really exists! I think our differences are what make us stronger and push our society forward in a lot of respects, but it makes me a little sad to see how such a powerful tool like the internet that could be used to foster intellectual discussions and exploration of issues so often becomes a place where we all can just shout our opinions and find others that already feel the same way we do.
Getting back to my first two questions, I have been sitting here thinking about how, with all of this going on, I know for sure I don’t want to be just someone else adding to the noise. Yes, this is my little piece of internet real estate where I can say pretty much whatever I want, but what DO I really want to be putting out there? It seems like there is already someone saying pretty much anything I could come up with an opinion on so why add to the chaos?
Knowing what I don’t want to be and don’t want to do, doesn’t exactly answer the question of what I DO want to bring to the table though. In sitting with some of the feelings stirred up by reading other people’s posts, I could only seem to conclude the problem is certainly not that people aren’t sharing their thoughts. It seems to me that most people aren’t listening to the thoughts and feelings of those that don’t already agree with them.
So how then can I put myself into that middle ground between the two camps of any various issue and try to encourage people to talk less and listen more, to really hear what other people are saying and evaluate the reasoning behind it before jumping to conclusion? How do you get someone to empathize with another that they may initially totally disagree with? Maybe there isn’t really a good way to make that happen and that’s why there’s not more people trying and succeeding in doing it already.
I know that there are certainly people that are trying their hardest to achieve this same goal, but you just can’t MAKE someone listen. I mean, you can physically restrain them and make sure the words are vibrating against their ear drums, but that certainly won’t make them HEAR you. The louder you scream your message from the rooftops, the less people actually hear you and the more you become chicken little.
Do not mistake my attempts to try and remain as neutral as possible in the writing of this for indifference or a lack of opinion on any of these matters, for that is most assuredly not the case. I have strong opinions on some of these topics for sure, but the goal was to try and present a view that both sides of any given topic could read without being alienated and perhaps start up an unbiased discussion. I want my contribution, however small it may be, to be one that helps break down some of the walls we put up between ourselves and others. Thanks for reading!