Thinking Is Required

I thought I found it hard to be friends with people I profoundly disagreed with.  However, after some personal reflection, I actually think it’s that I find it hard to be friends with people that don’t think about, and can’t articulate, their opinion.  I have often thought that I struggle to talk to people I have profound idealogical differences with.  I don’t mean we disagree about some stuff, I mean we have deep, strong beliefs that are completely at odds with one another.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this because I know it’s not a good thing, but I now think that this is not actually the issue.  I’ve had great chats with people I totally disagree with and left feeling really good about it.  What I truly struggle with is people who have deeply held ideas/opinions/beliefs who can’t explain them. (Or people who use personal attacks in discussion, but that’s another issue)

Think what you like, disagree with me all you like, just know why.  If you don’t know why you think something, how can you defend it?  How can you enter into a conversation about it?  And if you can’t, that’s fine, go and find out more.  But in the mean time, don’t go around spouting your ideas as the definitive truth.  Don’t try to defend an opinion you don’t really understand and can’t explain.  It makes you look ignorant and frustrates those you talk to.

(This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it, just that you can’t defend your position as the only truth.  Discussion is good, it helps us learn.)

I find it immensely difficult to talk to people with whom I disagree, about something they don’t actually know much about.  I can’t stand it when people vehemently defend an idea with little or no understanding of it.  Asking simple questions gets defensive responses and is less than enjoyable for everyone.

It’s important to be informed, and it’s also important to be open to changing your mind.  If you get better information, you need to change your own ideas to suit the new evidence.  That’s why discussion is so good; it helps us either change our ideas, or further understand and deepen the ones we already have.  No one is ever finished learning!

I hate feeling frustrated when talking to others about things they don’t really understand.  It damages relationships and isn’t constructive.  If this is you, please educate yourself.  And if you don’t know about something, just say so.  It’s ok not to know everything.  I certainly don’t!  But don’t pretend you do when you’re unable to actually discuss something properly.  That never helps anyone and mostly just drives everyone nuts.

End of rant.

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