Opinions are like Nazi Germany…

I went for a hike after work today. I decided I was going to use the time alone to try and think of something to write about. I have always really enjoyed writing, but lately I have found it pretty difficult. Today would be the day I actually put a little effort in. After about an hour the realization struck me that I honestly had nothing to say. Nothing. Not a political injustices to thwart or a commentary on some form of social retardation, not even a horribly embellished account of something I sorta did. That got me thinking, “Where did all the ideas go?” I had always been so full of pride will all the theories and philosophies I conjured up or more often than not blatantly plagiarized. I used these ideas to define myself. Without ones ideals and prejudices what is left?

My first thought was that perhaps I was just getting mentally dull with age and social repetition. I mean I am already 25 and a half, maybe I was falling into an early case of the mental atrophy that seems to consume all seniors. There is obviously a day in everyone’s life when they stop having/accepting new thoughts and go with the fall back plan of telling of old irrelevant stories and blind stubbornness. Was it possible my time had just come a few decades to early?

Though still possible after a little more mental investigation this didn’t seem to be the case. Now more than ever I felt a hunger for knowledge. A few years after leaving my formal education behind me I was able to step past being the GPA junky that high school and college had warped me into. I no longer was going through the administrative motions solely to acquire some artificial incentive; I felt I had acquired a genuine interest in learning.

After a little deeper thought it finally dawned on me what is happening. It seems I am losing my ability to hold an opinion. Sure I have opinions on everything, like we all do. There is not an aspect of this world I don’t have some belief on. Work sucks, he’s stupid, I’m right, Seahawks rule, that’s fun, she’s beautiful, that should be legal, that should probably be made illegal. I still have all those racing through my head every second, what has happened though is that I have started realizing how fucking retardedly arbitrary my opinions really are. Nothing I “think” has any real relevance to the reality of the world. It is only my subjective manipulation of the actual facts of the world being manifested as my opinion. I have always grasped opinions in the past because they gave me some form of intellectual leverage over the world that made “me” something. I was always trying to be right and prove my grasp of life. As have spent more time paying attention to myself and being aware of life, not thinking about it but just simple observing it for what it is, it has become more and more apparent to me that all this thought really is is a crude often insecure self shielding way of manipulating the reality of life.

I don’t really know how to end this; I am certainly not trying to come off as though I have figured anything out. Quite the opposite the more time I spent considering life the less it seems to make sense to me. All I am trying to say is that my OPINION is that we are all completely full of shit and we should step back and look at the foundation of our beliefs and see if there really is a foundation at all.

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15 Responses to “Opinions are like Nazi Germany…”

  1. It’s certainly not a coincidence that old people are opinionated and young people are open minded. My question is whether or not there is any substance to the claims people take as they age. The skeptic in me says that its just the older and wiser you become, the more you learn to make claims weighted towards the side in which you benefit the most from a certain outcome. Either that or someone who has weighted their claims towards one opion was more charasmatic that their opposition and has convinced others to blindly follow them.

    A friend of mine woke up one day feeling tired of luffing in the hurricane force winds of opinionated bullshit hitting him head-on and thought… “well, now is as good a time as any”, so he tacked starboard and set sail (nautically beam-reach, but politically middle-right) aboard a ship he called Liberty… he immediately tumbled down a waterfall of libertarian/capitalist maniacialism.

  2. Once again we stumble accross a couple of our favorite themes: nothing in this world actually matters and our distrust of old people.

    I mean yeah, if you think that we are all here for no reason, just some random luck where molicules evolved into shit and here we are today, then I agree. Who give a crap about what we think.

    That may be the case, but I am not throwing in the towel on my life having a purpose yet. Our ability to form opinions and opposable thumbs are about all the separatesus from animals. I enjoy both of these advantages granted to mankind and intend to use them.

    I agree though, old people are overly opinionated and usually wrong.

  3. Bigdog, I get confused about the whole purpose of life thing. Most people from this part of the world would say their purpose is to worship god so he will get them into heaven, but what then? So then you chill in heaven for eternity with no purpose? Sounds relaxing, but im not sure it would be any better than we have down here. For me its not so much that we are here for no reason, as its just that reality is far too complex for us to ever understand. Sure we can reason with the part of the universe we can grasp and fall back on making up stories about the parts we can’t explain, but I dont think that has anything to do with your life having (or lacking) a purpose. I think we need to make our purpose, and some people may never find theirs… I guess I am saying that there is nothing inherently purposeful about life, but dont let that stop you from making something of yourself.

    Also far too much credit is given to this “random luck” of the circumstances that lead to our existence. I see it somewhere toward the opposite anyway, more like our “systematic misfortune” that got us here. There was never a chance that we wouldn’t be here, struggling with our nonpurpose because… well we are here. Lets say there was something like 41 big bangs previous to this one where the eons passed and I failed to develope the consciousness to start hoboboobies.wordpress.com. And now on big bang #42, BOOM you are here observing this website. The way I think about it (anthropically), you reading this right now precludes the notion that there was “just some random luck where molicules evolved into shit”. You being here reading this makes the chances 100% likely that molecules evolved into shit, which is by definition not random luck. Now what would be very unlikely (and lead to a very short lived, confusing existence) would be if you developed consciousness in big bang # 13 where molecules didnt evolve and there was instead some crazy no-hoboboobies reality (which easily could happen if, say one of natures constants like mu did not equal 1836, making it possible for atoms to exist). Is this making any sense or is it an incoherent rant? I cant tell, im supposed to be working right now. *edit* i got off work and fixed a few sentences.

  4. A few quick thoughts (it is past 5 and I should be fly fishing)

    – Parker- Old people are NOT wiser. Anyone who thinks that has not spent more than a few minutes with old people. They may appear wise in short spurts, but in reality they are full of nothing but colloquialisms and hate. I do think a certain amount of age can bring wisdom if the person is so inclined. To do this the person must actively try to keep their mind open, if not all age seems to do is further reinforce their personal belief system (which to me are almost always arbitrary and completely based on life situation). That being said there is a sharp cut off point somewhere around 55 where it is all down hill.

    – BigDog I don’t really think that this post had anything to do with the meaninglessness of life, or least I had not meant it to. If anything I meant it to be about the meaninglessness of our prejudices (which it seems is all opinions are). I feel like life is full of meaning and that I am only trivializing with always viewing it through my opinions of it. The meaning is there independant of my existence or thought. A sunset is simple a sunset, not matter if I think it beautiful or annoying or if I think at all.

    – One more with regard to the BigDog when you mention that the ability to form opinions being what seperates us from animals, I would argue that it is consciousness not opinions. Being conscious of life and being full of opinions about life seem to me to be quite a bit different.

    -Parker I like your science talk and feel very inclined to agree with the idea that there is no chance that life would be any different than it is right now in this moment. In my last meditation retreat the teacher talked about pretty much exactly what you just said. His final talk was about how this momemt is exactly what it is and there is no other way it could be different. This is simple THE reality.

    – This should be a post of it’s own, but I am 99.99999% sure that one day a species will look back at the human species like it was just a simple minded animal. They will look at our “civilization” like we look at an ant farm. “Wow it is amazing such a simple creature could create something like that.” I feel like human beings are incredibly arrogant about how special we are. We were monkey’s a few thousand years ago and this is certainly not the last stop on line.

  5. Also BigDog I hope you and the Mrs. are enjoying yourself on your honeymoon.

  6. Parker – I highly enjoy reading your scientific ramble. I think we are on the same page. I don’t attribute a meaning of life to have anything to do with an established religion. I just believe there is a meaning. It may be unlikely that we figure it out, and maybe it is not the same for all of us. I don’t think we should try and make one up, but I also don’t think we should give up on the pursuit of a meaningful life, whatever that may be.

    Also – I don’t believe in random luck – although I thought that we had this discussion before and that you were in the random luck camp? Wasn’t I trying to claim that a supercomputer could track everything at the molecular level and could actually predict the future, since nothing is random, and you were the one saying that at the molecular level that there is a random element to the movement of an electron that is impossible to predict?

    Corey – We have enjoyed our honeymoon very much. I am hanging out in my Barcelona hotel room and about to catch some sleep before heading home early tomorrow morning.

    In response, I think a greater theme from many of your posts is a distaste for humans arrogance and self-importance on our own lives, which don’t actually matter very much. For example, our civilization compared to an ant hill. Our opinions, jobs, societies, goverments, nations, etc. don’t matter… our lives don’t matter. The things we think, say, and do don’t matter – they simply are what they are, and maybe if we just took a step back, simplified things a little bit, and just existed and observed, we would be getting somewhere. Maybe not your exact train of thought, but I think that is in line with the general theme.

    I guess when I think about my opinions, I see them as the end result of my ability to use reason. I hold humans ability to use reason as the highest value in this world, so I am not ready to discard the end result as worthless.

    The root of our opinions is what matters. Are they arbitrary? Are they the result of societal influences? Are they instictive? Are they biased? Or are they based on internal and external discussion and reasoning after all available and relevant facts have been considered? Are they open to change?

    I am on the opposite end of this discussion. Opinions are hugely important. Also, hugely dangerous. We have to understand their foundations and use them responsibly.

    A couple other random thoughts:

    – Are animals concious of life? I am not sure.

    – We are incredibly important. Time does not exist, only change. History doesn’t exist and either does the future, only right now does. The only thing that we know to be real in the entire unverse is us, RIGHT NOW, and we have the ability to change and mold the only reality with our decisions. In all previous states of change before mankind, there was no element of decisions. Some other power was leading the evolution of our universes change, whatever that may be. For whatever reason though, humans have been granted the power to impact the change of reality. What a monumental change in the powers that shape our universe. To me, an awesome and scary gift. I don’t intend to just sit back and watch it happen, but instead look to partake.

    – I agree with you ant farm analogy, they are incredible and so are we.

  7. Bigdog – I agree, make life meaningful or at least happy, whatever makes you happy, just do that. And I am definitely flying by the seat of my pants here, but I dont think im contradicting myself. The difference is all about the Observer. There is only a conscious observer when looking at the current moment in time. When looking into the future, the die hasnt been cast. Every possibility exists until you are physically there to observe it which at that point, all the possibilities must collapse since only one event must occure, and the most probable outcome usually does. This can’t be predicted, only estimated. Random luck lives, but only at the micro level and more of a byproduct of the fact that nothing can be ruled out… in a “many-universes” interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    For example: Im not sure if its more likely that its multiple big bangs (like I said above) that could create another universe, because you could use anything, like black hole universes pocket inside eachother or like bubbles forming seperately -or as Hawking puts it in a speach I saw online awhile ago:
    “The picture Jim Hartle and I developed, of the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe, would be a bit like the formation of bubbles of steam in boiling water. The idea is that the most probable histories of the universe, would be like the surfaces of the bubbles. Many small bubbles would appear, and then disappear again. These would correspond to mini universes that would expand, but would collapse again while still of microscopic size. They are possible alternative universes, but they are not of much interest since they do not last long enough to develop galaxies and stars, let alone intelligent life. A few of the little bubbles, however, with grow to a certain size at which they are safe from recollapse. They will continue to expand at an ever increasing rate, and will form the bubbles we see. They will correspond to universes that would start off expanding at an ever increasing rate.”

    So anyway, depending on the scale of how you look at it I dont give too much credit to us, I think we are a byproduct of all the possibilities out there and I just think its more amazing that the rules are set up so that universes can occuring (all praise be to Allah! or Tom Cruise or whoever). And yes we have a pretty sweet one here, though i bet there are better ones, like where I become the Grand-galactic-lord-of-space-rap-freestyle-battles… which I have not ruled out happening here yet).

    And like you said, yes many animals have a conscious understanding of themselves and time and life. monkeys whales dolphins

  8. Where’s Brice?

  9. A few additional thoughts-

    – I am not saying both ant farms and current human societies are not cool, they certainly are. I just think that as consciousness continues to evolve, as it has from amebas to monkeys to us, there is going to be large paradigm sifts in what “meaning” this world has. I just can’t see how things like money, clothes, celebrities and other socially conditioned things have a place in a truly conscious society. I agree some of those items are useful in our current society, but that doesn’t to me mean they are actually good, more so that our species still has a long way to go. I also feel like as conscious beings it is to our benefit to flow with this evolution and not drag our feet holding old opinions of what is “right”.

    – I was going to write a bit more, but then Parker and I had this little Gmail chat, I thought it pretty concisely covered what I was going to try and say so I will just post that instead.

    me: hey buddy
    Parker: yo
    whats happenin
    me: just about to respond to the big dog who is quickly replacing you as my new blog nemesis
    Parker: on the opinions post?
    me: yea
    Parker: i agree with some of it… at a certain level… actually most of its crap
    me: To me it seems like a misuse of the idea of opinions, I agree reasoning is important I used reasoning to come to the opinion that my opinions are arbitrary and of less importance than the objective “reality”. The reasoning is the important part, the opinions are just a side effect.
    Parker: yeah, i think we are just thinking about it differently
    me: I think it is hard when you use such a cumbersome medium as written language.
    Parker: ive enjoyed the discussion though
    me: yea certainly, it goes just about like all of them
    me: Kevin talks about enjoying life like a goddamn person from Spokane, I talk complete nonsense like some retarded hippie, and you spout out plagiarized probably misquoted scientific facts from things you find on the internet
    Parker: lol

  10. As a side note – I mostly agree with your original post and enjoyed it. I think that gets lost when I just start throwing my thoughts down in response.

    Clearly most people’s and most of my own opinions have no foundation.

  11. Also as a side note you are no where near replacing Parker as my blog nemisis. Until Parker renounces his maniacal love of our corrupt capitalist society our blogging relationship will continue to be a rocky one.

  12. last thoughts, which are really a post on their own:

    Like I was saying I dont give us too much credit, but in some ways our reason it is the only thing we have to take pride in. At least in this neck of the woods we are the pinnacle of intelligence and the only way the universe has to understand itself. unfortunately the only way we use this reason is to form arbitrary opinions which are overly emotional, obsessive, compulsive and we have no way to objectively decide which are better than others.

  13. Parker the thing I don’t understand is where your insatiable desire for money and the exploitation of human life fits into that beautiful idea????

  14. greed is efficient… what can I say? from my experiences it is the best way to move our society forward, to free us from the shackles of ignorance and socialized medicine

  15. Slavery is even more effecient we should just go back to that…really though I agree capitalism is certainly moving us forward, but sometimes it seems like it is just moving us more into a world completely based on material garbage and superficial nonsense then in the “right” direction. The human species has progressed an incredible amount in the last thousands years, but in this “progress” I think we are disregarding some things that to me seem a lot more important than side effects of Greed. I think there is a strong argument that civilizations in the past were a lot closer to an enlightened society than we are today. ie (Alexandria, greece, india and many native american culutes)

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