O is for Opinions…
Clearly some people are interested in hearing other people’s opinions, or else no-one would read blogs other than their own!
My parents either taught me to have one, or recognised that I had an opinion, and encouraged me to voice it. I’d like to think (and they probably would too) that they also taught me some measure of tact to go with that. They certainly did teach a love for the English language. And let’s face it: English is a complex and confusing language to learn.
I know I have a tendency to speak my mind, and I really don’t intend to be rude or offensive (except perhaps to politicians, but they deserve it!). I felt my share of bullying as I grew up from a weedy imported kid, to an adult who had little local history (my history never seemed to be ‘local’) and so I was encouraged, shall we say, to be careful what I said to whom.
I have found my niche, and found my voice. I have also discovered that there’s a whole heap of people out there who think the way I do… I’m not the weird one after all! That’s quite a revelation.
Sometimes when you ask a group of people a question, you get a good selection of answers. Occasionally, you get an all-out argument! I really enjoy a good debate, one where each person has good strong views, and expresses them well, but at the end everyone can agree to disagree and stay friends.
Pick a subject, any subject. You’ll get some varied opinions all right, when you get talking about politics; religion, raising children; sexuality; censorship; wars (past or present); equality; human rights… I really enjoy talking about some of these ‘big’ issues and obviously so do some of my friends and family. Conversations can become quite animated… and by animated, I mean heated! This is probably why Gentlemen of old would retire to the smoking room or study to have such discussions, out of earshot of their delicate fair wives. Little did they know those fair wives were probably having their own deep and meaningful conversations!
Such subjects were not suitable for discussing around the dining table, was this because of the tendency to get worked up over things and end up stepping outside to settle differences? It’s hardly surprising that families have been divided and wars have broken out over some of these subjects. Or is it? Why can two people (or indeed, two groups of people) not recognise the right to have an opinion is universal, if I have that right then I must surely expect you to have that same right. Hmmm, oh yes, human rights was one of the subjects where Opinions differ greatly.
I always thought the world would be boring if we all agreed, and thought the same way. But I didn’t realise just how varied opinions could be! I mean, really? Public flogging is ok in some countries still. That’s not cool. Although I can see occasions when it could be my preferred consequence for certain criminals. Murder is just not right, surely we all agree on that… oh but then we discuss ‘just cause’ and if it was in self-defence… is the death penalty the same as murder? Oh too much! All right – slavery: that’s wrong isn’t it? We all agree, hmmm apparently not, not even today! So many grey areas… it’s just not that simple, is it?
Religion – there’s a biggie… it has divided families and countries for generations, over many centuries. If it’s not one group or another, it this country and that country… here’s a tester: Protestants vs Catholics. Now I’m going to stir a little so please don’t take this to heart… but surely they both worship the same god, generally their beliefs are the same, they just go about it differently… is it really worth ruining a whole country for the sake of whose method is correct? I am aware that I don’t understand the details of each side, but I really don’t understand why their god would allow such destruction in his name, so many murders in his name… really? Cos they do both believe in the same god, don’t they? Now Muslims believe in a different god, so I can understand them disagreeing, but I still don’t see why everyone has to kill off everyone else just because they believe in a different higher being. Hindus don’t seem to mind – they have a huge number of gods so I guess one more doesn’t matter. They also have a strong enough belief to not let someone else’s beliefs upset them. Buddhists are quite peace-loving and seem content to let anyone worship their own way. Cool. There are many ‘polytheist’ religions about, and they all share that philosophy apparently. It seems to be only those religions with a ‘one true god’ that have trouble leaving others to their own choices.
(Joke time: why do Mormons dislike Halloween? They don’t like strangers to come knocking on their doors…)
Crime and Punishment seem like reasonably straightforward subjects, but are actually a minefield of hot topics, extreme viewpoints and strong emotions. Opinions can vary drastically between genders, between areas and even from one moment to the next.
Human rights are also hotly debated… although personally I rather feel that some of those human rights should be instantly revoked if committing a crime. Call me harsh if you want… but I don’t see why my tax-paying dollars should fund TV and fancy exercise equipment for jailbirds. What’s wrong with dispensing books, and breaking rocks or jogging around a yard? Jail is meant to be unpleasant – it’s a punishment! In Nature there are only consequences, if you do wrong then chances are you’ll get eaten.
In NZ we have ACC who will pay out if you have an accident and can’t work, sounds good? Except when an honest person is injured they get a run-around of epic proportions, yet criminals who break a leg while entering a window get looked after so well!! What’s with that?
So next time you’re sitting waiting for the bus and someone says ‘Hi, nice weather…’ have a conversation about something really interesting… you never know what you may hear, but I bet it won’t be boring!
a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.