If there is one thing I learned building bicycle frames; it is that no two people are alike.
If you could assemble a hundred people, all the exact same height, and then further separate into groups all those with similar leg length.
You would find within those groups, the thigh, lower leg and foot measurements would all vary.
Even within the same race, people have different facial features, complexions, hair color, etc. When you consider all peoples, the variations are infinite. An idividual's finger prints are unique, and now we know that DNA is too.
Most people accept these differences and even those who don’t, would seldom question why. Therefore, it really should be no surprise that people’s opinions will vary even more infinitely than our physical differences.
What are opinions but a collection of thoughts, based on our individual beliefs and experiences? Sometimes called a “Point of View,” meaning literally, the world as one individual sees it from where he stands.
No two individuals can have the same view if they stand in different places.
In spite of this we sometimes argue and fight defending our point of view, or trying to impose our opinions on others.
My father was an opinionated man. The problem was he didn’t have the education to back up or debate his opinions.
He was his own worst enemy; he couldn’t keep a job longer than a few months and he would be fired for mouthing off to his employer, or fighting with a co-worker.
Because he didn’t have intellect to back up his convictions, if someone strongly disagreed with him, he would get physical and fists would start flying.
The problem was made worse by his heavy drinking. He never owned a car, and a bicycle was his only means of transport, outside of public transport.
He was constantly arrested for being drunk and disorderly, and banned from every pub within a ten mile radius of our home. He would have to ride his bicycle further and further afield to get his beer.
Sad really, my father (Pictured right as a young soldier in the British Army.) in later life had no friends; nobody liked him. All because he would insist on foisting his opinions on other people. Why do some have this trait?
We accept every other difference in the human species, why do we expect the thought pattern of others to be in line with ours? We are each free thinking beings, and I can’t think of anything more random that a person's thoughts.
I think it is because our opinions are the yardstick by which we view and evaluate the world. It is how we judge situations and other people. Our opinions have been formed largely by our life experiences, our parents, teachers and other pivotal people in our lives.
Our opinions change over time, and with changing circumstances; if we find a better one we change it. However, at any given time our opinion is the best it can be. We just can’t understand why anyone would have a different opinion, after all, ours is the best.
It is not the difference of opinion that is wrong, it is the failure to see that the other’s view point is from an entirely different place.
I have found that defending my point of view is just a huge waste of time and energy. It achieves little; rarely does either side move any closer to the other’s way of thinking.
It is the single most cause of conflict between individuals, co-workers, friends, and families. On a larger scale, it is the basic reason nations assemble armies and go to war with each other.
Speaking of which, my father was aged 19, in 1929 and in the British Army fighting rebels on the Northwest Frontier of India. Under British rule at the time, that same area is now the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This happened long before my birth, and now we are fighting the descendents of the people my father once fought. Does anything change, and has anyone learned anything? In more than eighty years has anyone changed the other’s point of view?
But now I am beginning to voice my opinion, and is that even worth the web space it is written on? Because in my opinion, if we spent a little less time defending our opinions, and a little more time in trying to understand the others fellow’s opinion, we might all be better off. But that’s just my opinion.
What is your opinion on opinions? Are they more trouble than they are worth, are they worth defending, are they worth anything at all?