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Do Opinions Matter?

Posted: April 6th, 2010 | Author: Raj | Filed under: Philosophy of Life | Tags: , , | No Comments »

“Oh! Darling… How do I look in this new dress?” quizzed the wife. “Ahem… well… err! How should I put this? You look fat as you always do,” comments the husband. What happened next is left to your individual imaginations.

Now let’s try another approach. “Oh! Darling… How do I look in this new dress?” quizzed the wife. “Ahem… well… err! How should I put this? The dress has a slimming effect on you,” gushes hubby dearest.

Now, it takes no rocket science to figure out that the harassed husband actually meant the same thing and that was to tell his wife that she was over-sized. However, such is the way of the mind that there is a good chance that the lady went back happier with the second answer that was at best a subtler comment than the in-your-face one that preceded it.

So, how can a same opinion shared by a lover be received in diametrically opposite ways by the loved one? I racked my brains and came up with this brilliant answer… Marry a dumb person and be happy!

Just kidding!

More often than not, people seek opinions only to reiterate what they already knew or had decided. And those that dole it out seldom realize that they are blowing hot air over more of the same as the listener is seldom going to accept the viewpoint and hardly ever going to admit an error.

So, do opinions really matter? It seems the human mind plays more tricks on itself than any other living source. If we hear our viewpoint being echoed by another, there is every chance that our chest swell up. It doesn’t matter that the opinion giver is herself no expert on the matter or that the person might have just stated the obvious.

“You see! The so-and-so holds the same view as me. I did tell you so,” are the usual refrains one gets to hear when opinions of others actually match up with that we hold.

Now, consider the opposite. Let’s say an expert on telly comes up with a contra view on something. Many of us might switch channels to stop “hearing such nonsense” while a limited few may just hear things through only to pick holes in the argument and return with added strength. There will be hardly five chaps who will listen to the opinion, shake their heads and say, “Well, okay… so he has a different perspective to mine. He’s happy with his but let me stay with mine as this is what I believe in.”

In short, opinions that question our deepest beliefs are a strict no-no for all of us. It is often only posterity that really values such opinions, that too in hindsight. The case of Lord Jesus and Socrates are cases in point. Both were done in because those around them couldn’t digest the views that these great minds provided on matters that were of grave importance to the then way of life.

Instead of questioning these great minds, they thought it fit to silence them once and for all so that their own minds could wallow in the comfort zones that had been created. Two-thousand years on, nothing has changed with the human mind. We still continue to banish the people who ask us to question our beliefs.

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