129: The problem with choice and opinion (itty bitty thought)
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Opinions and choices used to be a personal thing. There were many topics or issues we didn’t discuss with other people—not because we were ashamed of what we believed or the choices we had made, but simply because it wasn’t any of their business. There are things we never would have thought to bring up, and other people would have never asked us unless they knew us really well.
Remember those days?
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Nowadays, it’s all on the table. And it’s almost as if your choices and your opinions are now an assertion of who you are as an individual. In many cases, a sort of look at me, ta-da! assertion.
We used to be able to go to a picnic and have a totally normal conversation without knowing that Susie is pro-choice and Mary didn’t vaccinate her kids and Bill thinks Trump is still president and Greg is doing whatever with whomever in the bedroom.
But we were given many platforms to express our opinions and beliefs—so we did. The problem is that now people expect it. And if you don’t put forth your choice about X Y or Z? Well, clearly you haven’t made a decision, you haven’t formulated your opinion yet, or you have your head in the sand or you’re ashamed of your choice/opinion.
It feels a little bit like “They” want us to wear a t-shirt that lists how we feel about 20 different political and social issues so they can determine if they want to associate with us.
And for a people that claim to be so much about the individual and freedom of choice and expression and I can be who I want to be, it sure doesn’t take them long after finding out what you think about things before they’ve pegged you as a certain kind of individual… who is probably just like all those other individuals over there.
Which is ironic because isn’t that basically the same as… you know… putting you in a group and labeling you?
So much for individualism.
If you’re one of those people who says, you don’t need to know what I think about XYZ because that’s not the topic of conversation, or I don’t know you well enough to discuss that with you, or simply, I’m not playing that game and you tear off that shirt of political and social issues to run around topless, people don’t even know what to think.
They don’t know what to do with that.
They don’t know what to do with someone who still operates under the rule of, “if I think its necessary for you to know what I think about XYZ, I’ll let you know. And 99% of the time, the way I think about XYZ isn’t something you need to know.”
When you have to wear your opinions and your choices tattooed on your forehead, they become an aggressive assertion of who you are. And when that becomes the norm, when having an opinion and expressing said opinion becomes the expectation, we are in very dangerous territory as a society.
I think it’s okay to keep some things private.
I think it’s okay that the entire world doesn’t know how you feel about every single thing.
I think it is okay for you to just be who you are without having to reveal, explain, and defend everything you believe.
The problem with choice in modern times is that while we’ve made choice a possibility—which is great—we’ve also stepped on to a slippery slope where we expect everyone’s choices and opinions to always be public information.
And there’s something about that… that doesn’t feel like a choice at all.
— Amy Dingmann, 4-2-21
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