Up @ Night #10 – Being Called Cool
by MW Cook
I have some funny thoughts swimming around my head. I share them when they seemed to have matured enough to stand and fight on their own. So I release them into the world and, of course, they sometimes meet opposing thoughts and enter into battle. I get that. Nay, I expect that. How else can we know if my thoughts have any merit if I don’t let them battle? It would be like having a pokemon stay in his pokeball and never fight. It wouldn’t grow. It wouldn’t get any stronger. Useless.
So when there are conflicts of ideas flying around, I get encouraged. I like it. It means we’re all a bunch of thinking animals just trying to think better. Wonderful.
Until I get called trendy or cool. Then all the happiness dies. Dies hard.
This is how it happens. Someone says, “It seems to me that A=C+B.”
His opponent replies, “I believe that A=C-B.”
The first Someone counters, “Ah, that’s a very trendy belief for you to hold. Many cool and trendy people are starting to hold that now. You must have jumped on board that new and cool and trendy bandwagon to believe such a cool and trendy thing.”
The opponent stutters and withers away, his argument somehow dismantled without any critical thought at all.
There is nothing worse in a debate than this sort of circle. But you see it all the time.
“That’s just post-modern drivel.”
“You’re just saying that because you’re from the conservative camp.”
“I can’t accept that liberal nonsense.”
“I know it’s very fashionable for you to say that, but you’re wrong.”
“That’s not a real opinion, that’s just you trying to be politically correct.”
“Hmph, I guess you’ve been taken in by the Emergent crowd, eh?”
News flash for people who love to discuss: No one believes anything because they think it’s cool! They believe it because they think it’s right. Not because it’s politically correct. But because they think it’s just plain correct.
And when you take part in a discussion and you suggest the other person is trying to be trendy or politically correct or enamored with emergent sexiness, please realize what you are implying. You are implying that your friend has no brain at all. That he’s a zombie who has been spoon-fed and brainwashed. That he is so very weak in the head that he has no business running his own life.
So don’t say crap like that. It hurts.
Come up with a relevant comment instead.
“News flash for people who love to discuss: No one believes anything because they think it’s cool! They believe it because they think it’s right. Not because it’s politically correct. But because they think it’s just plain correct.”
Perhaps the implication is not that you haven’t any beliefs, but rather that you haven’t thought them through for yourself or thought them through to a logical conclusion. People, being naturally lazy, like to let others do their thinking for them and are quite inclined to follow their latest guru, or trendiest opinion, or even the latest rebellious attitude.
Thinking for yourself and doing this objectively is bloody hard work and it’s not something the schools train you to do well.
Of course, the people who have an opinion believe that opinion because they think it is the best one, or at the very least, the one they can live with the most comfortably. But I still think that the “following the crowd” accusation can be valid in many cases. Thinking it out for yourself really is a fine art and a skill that not many people have sadly. (The human inclination to worship and find the answer in a school of thought comes into play here I think.)
Oh, and P.S., I don’t think I’ve quite mastered this particular skill either!
But how can you or I ever come to a fair conclusion about that? Where can we get the insight to tell people that they are just following a trend or a sexy teacher? I don’t think we can. And so I don’t think there is ever a place to accuse someone of following something because it is trendy.