“Opinions are like assholes . . . ”Anonymous
When you start having opinions about other people’s opinions, it’s time to re-think some things. That’s a pretty common sense thing to say, right? Because an opinion, like that particular body part, is something we all have. Even when we don’t know shit about a topic, we usually have an opinion . . . or at least a gut feeling. Every individual has a natural reaction to the things they encounter in the world, and it’s reasonable to assume those thoughts and emotions run the gamut. The opinion, the perspective, is the interesting part . . . not how it stacks up to an aggregation.
Everybody thinks a little different because we are all uniquely individual creatures, is what I’m trying to say. Pretty basic, right? So let me follow my hypothetical question with a real one . . . so if that’s the case, how come it’s so hard to find more than one opinion online?
I mean, seriously . . . what the fuck?
The Internet is the Great Homogenizer
The internet was supposed to be the global printing press that finally made the free exchange of ideas so easy that the whole of humanity would just elevate in a natural and beautiful arc. At least, that’s what I thought.
Instead it seems to me that ubiquitous connectivity is breeding conformity. The internet that was supposed to accelerate the exchange of ideas lassoed us all and corralled us into a great invisible pen. Yes, like sheep.
I keep looking around for signs of courage, of creativity, of independence. Artistry. And I can’t find it. Pick a venue: education, law, politics, public health, even the arts. All my favorite adjectives are conspicuously absent.
Look. I’m no great public intellectual. Don’t look to me to explain the social constriction that is pretty clearly a fault line of civilization. But what I can say is this: when people start thinking twice about saying the things they really think, the world gets real boring, real fast.
I’m still too depressed about it all to offer any kind of emotional salve, to myself or anyone else. All I can say for sure is that creativity–that is, making stuff–seems to require courage and independence . . . the exact two commodities that are apparently the price of admission to the promised land of internet culture today.
I say, fuck it . . . in that case, keep your internet culture . . . because I have a feeling I’m gonna need my courage.