Somewhere Outside You And I Both

One of the people I interact the most with is someone whose views on music are diametrically opposed to mine. This is not necessarily a bad thing–it can be highly entertaining to engage with people whose tastes are wildly different from one’s own, because it reveals how much matters of taste may vary strongly based on a variety of factors. As it happens, most of the people I interact are those who I share a high degree of agreement with. When I was growing up, I had no reason to feel hostile about the music listening tastes of my parents or my neighbors, or most of my friends or members of my family, because I found a great deal to like in what they enjoyed to listen to.

It has always amused me when people have invested what is obvious subjective appearance with the commitment and passion that comes with a view about objective truth. When I was younger, I gave a much loved speech where I talked about the fondness my maternal grandmother had for insisting there was only one way to properly fold towels, made all the more funny by the fact that the audience knew my maternal grandmother and were aware of her strong views on the subject. Such a thing is not very uncommon, as I know quite a few people who have extreme views about what is obviously a matter of subjective taste. I find it humorous because I do not tend to be particularly ferocious about matters of mere opinion. If I have no fondness for pineapple on pizza, I am not offended or bothered if someone else does.

That is not to imply that every difference of views is a difference of mere opinion. I do think less of people if we differ in worldview, although I tend to define this far more broadly than merely the possession of the same opinion. There are people who I consider as having a substantially identical worldview to myself who have different opinions than I do on various subjects because of different facts in mind. If we believed the same information, the worldview would lead to the same conclusion, but different facts in possession lead to different conclusions. This need not cause offense, none of us live in a world of perfect information or the ability to understand or grasp it perfectly. Ideally, given the same information and the same understanding of it, the same conclusions could be drawn, and that is all that I expect from other people.

Even so, it amuses me to hear people opine about their personal preferences as if they are speaking gospel truth. I would hope that other people are similarly amused with my own opinions in the same way I find great enjoyment at hearing what other people are strongly motivated to like or dislike. Often we learn a great deal about others and ourselves by the motivations that we have to view matters of opinion so strongly. It is not surprising, after all, that the self-professed party of tolerance is highly intolerant to those with different political opinions, because people often believe good things about themselves that are simply not true and blind themselves to their considerable flaws and hypocrisies. None of us immune to such a disastrous fate.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Somewhere Outside You And I Both

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing; the inclination to confuse opinion for fact. Right versus wrong is a matter of morality, not one of difference or preference. As you stated, towels are either folded or not; how they are folded may be different, but there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. One may think that a better way exists–but that is a matter of opinion.

    The wave of “tolerance” sweeping the left is one of acceptance for all aberrant lifestyles. It is astonishing to witness how intolerant these tolerant people are of ideas that don’t agree with their own, and their refusal to engage in discussion or debate. They cancel anything and anyone who dare oppose them. We live in dangerous times.

    • We do live in dangerous times, because we confuse fact for opinion and vice versa, are hostile to the claims of reality, and because people seek power to enforce their deviant views.

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