I don’t know if I mentioned this before but here are some more thoughts on the worthlessness of opinions:
My experience is that opinions are basically worthless . . . the same goes with any point of view. No one really cares. This seems a very American thing or, at least, its very pronounced here. Whether its epidemic in the rest of the world I cannot say. A man once told me:
“Opinions are like buttholes . . . everyone has one and they all stink.”
This, I have found, defines “opinion” in the U.S. In fact, I’ve found that this is the general stance toward opinions in the U.S. – the great land of free speech! This has always stunned me as I was always taught that the U.S. worships individualism, knowledge, and peoples opinions. Isn’t this supposed to be the high and mighty land of democracy, where the peoples word means something? What I found, though, is the opposite. In fact, I’ve seen very little evidence of this. Neither the government, the establishment, or other people could give a care what you think. If they do, it usually takes the quality of “yeah, I agree or disagree” and its forgotten shortly afterwords. I’ve always said that “it doesn’t matter if someone agree’s or disagree’s . . . it will be forgotten in a matter of hours anyways”. It all becomes part of the endless blurr of words, ideas, opinions, points of views, knowledge, and facts thay fly past us everyday. I’ve always said that if Jesus came back to earth he would find that, at least in America, no one would listen . . . or care. He’d probably be ridiculed and be a big feature on tabloids.
This is all rather sad.
When I look into the past I’m often amazed at how opinions, thoughts, point of views, etc. actually mattered. I’m often stunned how a point of view can be so influential. A simple point of view could, at times, change people. There have been times where a thought or point of view could start a whole movement. Now point of views are a dime a dozen. Not only that, many very good, and wise, point of views are passed over as if they were nothing. As I sit and watch things I’m stunned how so many good things are passed over, generally not even being acknowledged at all. Its sad.
“Opinion” is taking a specific view or stance on a situation, problem, or dilemma. This generally means its based on “set” viewpoints, such as a belief system. As a result, any opinion generally reflects a taking of a specific stance or position in life in regard to a situation in life.
Any “opinion” is particularly pronounced, and obvious, if the opinion is not the “run of the mill” opinion. That is to say, its different than everyone else’s. But just because its different doesn’t necessarily mean anything, nor will it necessarily make it noticed. It also doesn’t matter if its wise, practical, a matter of common sense, or plain “right”. It still doesn’t mean anything. Opinion doesn’t seem to matter until it has “power”. An opinion without power is just a statement . . . so what?
What, then, gives opinion power? In America any opinion with any power usually means it is associated with things like:
- Something that makes money.
- Something that is “endorsed” by someone famous (like a movie star).
- Something associated with hype, scandal, or social mania.
Notice how wisdom is conspiculously lacking. Notice how common sense is lacking. Notice how tradition is lacking . . . and culture . . . and religion . . . and knowledge. All the things I thought opinion represented seems to be lacking!
Isn’t that interesting . . .
OPINION AND POWER
In many ways, there are two forms of opinions:
- Opinions with power.
- Opinions without power.
It seems that opinion with power isn’t really opinion at all but something else altogether, we just “think” its an opinion. In reality, its a “means to power”. In many ways, opinion is only one of the many means for power, its a medium, a tool. This is why it can have power one day and become powerless the next.
A big source of “power”, nowadays, is a result of “mass opinion”. Whether its right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. When it becomes “mass opinion” it has power. In many ways, “mass opinion” is the only opinion that seems to matter anymore. But “mass opinion” tends to be blind, stupid, and dumb. Regardless of this, people follow it like it was a god. This reveals a great truth about opinions. It shows that the question of opinion is not in the “right” but in the “power” that it contains. We are not as interested in the “right” as we may think. In actuality, we are usually ‘mesmerized’ with the power behind it. As a result, the question of opinion is actually a question of power.
But we have a tendency to confuse “opinion” with “power” and as if equate them. This makes it seem that any opinion with power has an innate value, an innate “right”, when it really doesn’t. This shows that, in many ways, opinion is an illusion. Its not what it seems. This is one of the inherent problems of opinion: the confusing of the “right” of opinion with its “power”.
OPINION AND SOCIETY
Because opinion is said in regard to a situation in life it shows that opinion is really a social relationship. In other words, its something said in amongst people, often to get a problem solved. As a result of this, it is under the sway of social dynamics. And what is critical in social dynamics? . . . Power! Its really no surprise, then, that power is so critical with opinion. This makes it so that the ‘war of opinions’ is really nothing but a ‘war of power’.
In Western society, with the intellectual tradition, we tend to think that the “right” in an opinion is everything, that what ‘makes sense’ is the best opinion. In other words, we think the intellectual ideas displayed in opinion is the power, not realizing that power is beyond that, rooted in social dynamics. Because of this we get involved in all this intellectual discussions on what’s the “right” opinion which, frankly, gets nowhere.
There was a time, though, where this did not happen. This was when there were small groups of people, where an individual person, usually, could “choose” what seems the “right” opinion. Nowadays, this situation is rare. It seems that now that we are in mass society, with many people in the “choosing” process, with a million different factors affecting it, with a million different point of views, with people who often cannot tell what’s “right”, and such. It becomes impossible to tell the “right” opinion. In many ways, the power of “mass opinion”, which is generally dumb and stupid, is a result of the fact that no one can make a decision anymore. It “won out” as if by default. In other words, with the condition nowadays, no one knows which leaves the power to “mass opinion”.
THE WORTHLESSNESS OF OPINIONS
This more or less means that opinions don’t mean anything . . . no one knows what’s “right”. But, more importantly, it also shows how the individual person don’t really matter. It shows how the ‘masses’ of people have eclipsed the individual person, making the individual person redundant, lost in the myriad mass of the mob. This is shown not only in the fact that no ones opinion means anything but in the fact that no one can decide what’s “right”. It shows a degradation, I think, in humanity and the individual person. It seems to me that it reflects a fall. In reality, the failure of opinion seems to be another symptom of our alienation and dehumanization, which is so prevalent nowadays. It shows a failure on many levels:
- A failure in wisdom and a belief system to determine what’s right.
- A failure in the value of the individual person and their opinion.
- A failure in the ability to choose what’s “right”.
- A failure in social relations.
These are great failures of necessary things in life. Because of this, the worthlessness of opinion seems to be a symptom, really, of something like a disease or ailment that is running rampant nowadays. This is why, at least for me, the worthlessness of opinion has always worried me, that I felt it meant something deeper and serious.