Scribblings

My Opinion on Opinions

It’s worth, at times, focusing on the good stuff and ignoring the bad. These times are precious little specks, and not to be over-indulged. The world is a wonderful place of wonder and awe and true goodness which just lifts me off my feet and soaks right into my skin. It’s an ‘ah-ha!’ moment where it all makes sense, and we’re here because we grew of the ocean and the mountains and the trees, and our purpose is to love and be happy.

It’s not to be over-indulged because it isn’t strictly correct. The world is a place with hard edges and dark valleys and sharp peaks. You can be picked up just to fall down again, and just when things couldn’t get worse, a light bulb flickers. In amongst all of this, it’s not right to ignore the little specks of goodness.

Nothing is all good or all bad, and misrepresenting the world in this way isn’t an injustice to the world, it’s an injustice to you.

The thing about world being an unfair place, is that that idea has two interpretations.

The ~world~ isn’t fair, sure. It’s long pre-dated your ancestors, and it’ll long outlive us all too. It doesn’t exist for you or for me, as troubling a truth that is. It bubbles up or freezes over, or floods or dries up, and it doesn’t care if you miss an appointment or lose out on a risky investment. (Mind you, I’m talking about natural environmental changes, not extreme climate catastrophes directly relating to human behaviour *nervous laughter*)

The world contains some scary little creatures and contrary to popular belief, humans aren’t really invincible or particularly in control. The world isn’t working against us either, it’s just working, and we happen to be here too.

Aside: Climate change feels like an ongoing human revenge for the unfairness of life on earth. Like, after a bad Monday we say, “why, cruel world?” and then we dump oil into the oceans and burn the earth’s skeleton and then we poison all the oxygen, and then we dust our hands and ask the earth, “it’s not so nice, is it?”, and “if we’re going down, we’re taking you with us.” (Not my revenge though, Earth, I love you, let’s make this work)

So the second type of unfairness isn’t the world, it’s society, right? Society is such an easy word to throw around, especially when criticising anything. But it’s true, a lot of stuff is the fault of the world we’ve built for ourselves. I’m not an expert, but I have opinions-a-plenty*.

One type of unfairness is the idea that if we work really hard, we’ll earn heaps of money and buy a big house and we’ll laugh down our noses at the lazy folks who like to be poor. Society rewards certain types of people, and those rewarded folks feel absolutely certain that they deserve what they have. They worked hard, saved hard, hustled, and they earned it. Except, meritocracy is an illusion, and if society looked through a different lens, good fortune mightn’t even notice you, or your hard work, or your hustle.

I definitely benefit from all sorts of privilege, every day. People who benefit from the structures of our society often just see their hard work and their success, and detect a correlation. It’s easy then, to judge people with less dumb luck, who work really hard in a system built to work against them.

While working hard is important and should equal success, it’s important to realise that it really isn’t so simple. We also have a toxic tendency to focus on the good luck of the few, and are led to believe they earned it all. The unlucky, then, have earned their spots too. (“I’m a billionaire because I did my homework and ate my greens! You should try it out.”) In reality, everybody works within a system controlled by a multitude of other factors.

The point is, the earth isn’t out to get any of us. Its natural ways disregard our hopes and dreams and best intentions. The world isn’t fair, it just is. But society, yeah, it’s unfair. We need to talk about it.

*An opinion on opinions: sometimes we can have an opinion on something, and other times we just can’t. Like I feel strongly about heaps of stuff, and I’m reading books written by experts, so that I’m throwing my energy behind causes that are true and worthy. I just can’t understand denying climate change, in spite of 99% of literal experts, because uncle Joe reckons summer was always pretty hot and lattes are the devil. Reading broadly is a wonderful opportunity, but just pay attention to who’s writing. If my opinion is at odds with a bunch of peer-reviewed experts, I won’t ask them to re-evaluate their stance, but you can be sure I’ll take on your over-the-road-neighbour if they think their intuition is gospel.
You can’t just have an opinion on something because you want to – some opinions aren’t up for grabs, they’re just fact, and there’s evidence and research to back it up.

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