I’ve been in the middle of an ongoing argument for about ten years now on the caliber of Keanu Reeves acting ability. I’m not arguing with anyone specifically, just anyone who comes along and disparages one of my favorite actors.
I’ve been in an ongoing argument for several decades now on the correct pronunciation of “almond” (I was raised to treat the “L” as silent).
And with the dawning of the year 2016 I began arguing for a lot more things that struck me as “obvious”. As obvious as Keanu’s blockbuster successes and “amond” the correct way to pronounce that delicious nut’s name.
I’m assuming you think I’m wrong about at least one of these. Maybe you even disagree with me violently and aggressively. What we’re arguing about in these situations is specifically taste and experience, yours conflicting with mine. And the reason we argue about these intangibles is because we’re always convinced by our own judgments. There are actually things in life you feel you CAN’T be wrong about, just misunderstood.
Here’s a short list of the most flagrant offenders:
- Sense of Humor: You have a good sense of humor, don’t you? Sure, maybe it’s a little weird, or dry, maybe it’s even macabre, but you think you’re funny. You know what you find funny, and it’s funny.
- Visual Aesthetic: You know how you want to look and how you think other people should look. Even if you don’t value appearance, you know what you like when it comes to fashion because it’s comfortable and that’s what you want to be.
- Taste in Media: Maybe your vice is Keanu Reeves or Kenny G or Thomas Kincaide or Stephanie Meyer, doesn’t matter. You like what you like and you’ll defend it too.
- Palate: People think it’s weird that you like white vinegar on your vanilla ice cream but it’s only because they haven’t tried it yet. And if they try it and hate it? Well it’s because their palate isn’t as refined as yours. They don’t know what they’re missing.
- Reason: I’ve never met someone who thinks they’re unreasonable. They may even SAY “May I’m being unreasonable but…” but what they mean is “even if I’m wrong, I’m still sure I’m right.”
- Rationality: Whatever you’re doing today it’s because it’s rational. Someone may look at you and think you’re insane, but you know what you’re about. It makes perfect sense — if only they were you.
- Well-Informed: If there’s anything I’ve learned from the election it’s that we all think we’re perfectly qualified to argue important points in economics, and policy, and government. We’re all confident we’ve read the right articles, listened to the right news anchors and hold the most correct, most accurate opinion ever.
- Politics: We can believe we’re well-informed on a lot of things, but we usually use our dogmatic approach to it for political points. We’re all speaking from personal experiences and perspectives and distinct worldviews, but that doesn’t mean we’re not completely qualified to explain to other people how they’re getting it wrong and we’re totally right.
- Religion: Almost nothing is more divisive than religion. Even Christians can’t agree on who qualifies as “Christian” and there have been splits upon splits about the finer points of doctrine for hundreds of years. Everyone is convinced they have the most correct most accurate view of God.
- Driving Ability: This one could just be me. But I haven’t heard someone yet persist in saying they’re a “bad” driver. Maybe cautious, maybe inexperienced. Never bad. Listen, I’ve been in six or more accidents and I STILL think I’m a good driver. That right there says something about our ability to maintain innocence in the face of overwhelming amounts of condemning evidence.
So when you’re sitting there at your computer getting incensed by the plethora of morons and idiots out there, wondering how its possible that so many people have it so very, very wrong, remember that self-awareness is always the thing we could do with a little more of.
Use that self awareness you claim to have for treating others kindly and with respect. Remember, experiences differ. So when someone disagrees with your opinion? That’s kind of okay. Take a moment to listen to their experiences and maybe you’ll understand.
And most importantly of all, don’t confuse opinion with fact. That might just be my opinion but…I’m totally right about this one.