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- Non-denominational Beliefs & Practices
To Be Right Or To Be Happy...
Awareness And Choices
Having an untamed point of view handicaps our choices in life. We make so much of this thing we call our opinion. It is the senior member of our personal troupe, the one we allow to call all the shots. Yet, I would venture to say that most people do not even know where their opinions originate.
In our early lives we spend a significant amount of time in resistance. We are just doing what we can to hold our own against those in authority. Much of what they are trying to do, such as keep us safe and teach us values, is lost to rebellion when we are young. Many of our opinions from this time in our lives are born from fear. We learn to make countless of our choices out of the avoidance of the consequences. I would say in some cases that humans cultivate enough fear as to render themselves powerless to make needed changes in their lives. It has often occurred to me that much of the world makes it their highest goal to avoid their greatest fear.
I don't want to sound arrogant in saying this, but it appears to me that many of the people I interact with are not home, meaning they are just commiting their opinions to the stimuli and have not yet engaged their mind at all. I do not intend to be critical of them, I am merely making an observation. A while back, I was at a party of several relatively close friends. I was talking with one of these friends and was listening intently to what they were saying. My replies were similar in nature to the comments the other person made. I was basicly in agreement and was just affirming my concurrence of their statements. Each time I would reply to what they had just said, they would say something like, "Well, that is where you and I differ." I would stand there listening for the next defense of their subject, nodding my head in affirmation to see if they noticed. Then I would paraphrase, back to them, what they had just uttered and they would again challenge my reply. This went on for quite some time. I am a student of human behavior and I get great satisfaction from observing people. I have learned not to take my opinions too seriously, so it did not phase me that they were not listening, but it did give me a chuckle inside while this was going on between us.
I have shared times with many friends and acquaintances talking about current affairs and domestic issues. A few of them will take the opposite side of the conversation no matter what the subject is. I watch them while I am talking and I can see by the expression on their faces that they are looking for their rebuttal as I speak. I have tried agreeing with their counter and had them take yet another tack in the next sentence. What is it about our opinions that we are so eager to defend? No opinion is factual. It may be based on facts, but by virtue of the nature of opinions they cannot be factual. Dictionary.com defines opinion as, "A belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty." Well, I have to tell you how hard I laughed after reading this. And, it went on for a considerable amount of time.
I wrote an article recently where an unidentified person made a comment on my subject. The title of the article is "America Under Siege - The Enemy Among Us". In it, I stated my point of view on the subject of the economic inequities between taxes for the super rich mega corporations and the tax burden on the average citizen. I added some statistics to my article to make my point. This anonymous person said that while they themselves believe in liberty, my opinions represent that I believe in slavery and tyranny. I had made the point, in my article that mega corporations, making literally billions of dollars in profits each year should pay their share of income taxes and could lessen the financial burden of their customers by charging slightly less for their goods or services. An example was that Exxon Mobil had adjusted gross income (income after expenses) in 2010 of 52.959 billion dollars ($52,959,000,000.00), and I was asking if they might be able to lower the price of gasoline by 50 cents per gallon. To this sn53anon said, "You want a government who will steal, rob, plunder, and enslave a portion of the populace on your behalf. Your argument is immoral." They finished off their comment wth, "And those differences are at the very heart of this battle between good (my side) and evil (your side) playing itself out in Washington D.C. today."
It took me by surprise that this person was so offended by my opinions. I really do not expect people to agree with me, especially on political subjects, but this seemed to be more than just disagreement. I thought about what the person said before I wrote a response. But after a few minutes I wrote, "I think the only thing you and I agree on is that we both have the right to say what we think." In earlier times in my life I would have loved to blast this person with words, because I too thought my opinion was so important, but I have since come to realize that when we choose our opinion over the experience, what we forfeit is the potential for happiness.
That said, I can still hear my Father's voice in my head saying, "Place the used razor blades in the slot in the back of the medicine cabinet not on the shelf." When I replied, "But Daddy, you leave them on the shelf, why can't I?" His reply, "Because we are not talking about me, we are talking about you." And that dear readers is how I learned abstract thinking.