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Thursday, June 6, 2013

In My Opinion

A man named Michael Jager of JDK designs once said that the most influential people who were truly exceptional had the self confidence to have a point of view.

That got me thinking.

In the organized chaos that defines our technological age, information and how we respond to it has become a delicate balance. It is an art of deciding what we will think about when bombarded with the assault of information. Sometimes, it seems like there is simply too much stuff to actually keep up with, so we give up. Sometimes we are forced to multi-task and pay attention to different things, while never actually being let up for air; to breathe and think about the small actions that make up our lives. There is of course an infinite number of ways that we could choose to deal with this onslaught of commercial, industrial and personal marketing, but I have come to the conclusion that the things which we decide to focus on, whether a film in a crowded theater, or a book read in solitude, is an opportunity.

A friend recently pointed out to me that this opportunity is not simply to make a judgement on that film or this book, but an opportunity to discover something about ourselves and how we relate to the ideas that engulf us; which direction we choose to swim in the this ocean of ideas. To put it another way, forming an opinion is not for the benefit of the object, but for ourselves. They clarify the way that we articulate our position and, in essence, give a voice to the voiceless ideas and opinions in our minds.

A common misconception I had was that if it makes sense in my own head, I will easily be able to tell someone else exactly what I think or feel. Have you ever thought you had a rock solid view on something and then have it crumble unexpectedly when you vocalized it? It is a disappointing thing when you release it from the safety of formlessness and make it vulnerable to the unfamiliar air of reality. Talking about things or writing them down, I realized, is a way to have your ideas look back at you, before or after sending them into the world. It is good practice for when you have something that you desperately need to share. The last thing you want is to not be able to make someone else understand. It also makes those shadowy opinions into living things that now require some explaining. We all understand the idea of a ghost, but have you ever tried to explain what a ghost is?

So, why write a blog, you ask? One: everyone is doing it.
                                                  Two: it is practice for forming opinions and defending them, as well as mirroring your ideas back to yourself in order to make them stronger and better defined. Stronger, at least, then safely in your own head, no matter how secure that feels.
                                                  Third: to practice what I preach. I hope that I can be the reminder for someone else that opinions and points of view are important for everyone; that they will determine where you spend your time, how you behave and what you believe about life.

So, don't be afraid. Have an opinion.

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