Will you find peace when you cease to express opinions?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
It may sound strange, as we are used to asserting ourselves through our opinions or value judgements. We overlook many things in order to defend an opinion? An opinion, what is that?
When I call an opinion a “view”, I place it in the sphere of assumptions, of things that I do not really value. However, our opinions are normally like this. Things without much basis. Scraps of things that we have heard, read and learnt but that we rarely question or reject. You will have noticed that there are people who know everything, who explain everything to you, who have an answer to everything, an opinion. The truth is that even if we are humble, we always have opinions. Believing that we know about something gives us a certain perception of security. We go about with this belief in our opinions and with our heads held high, and through it we feel that we can deal with the world because we know where we stand. We do not like having to change our opinions. That makes us feel that we have made a mistake and that makes us feel vulnerable, that is, insecure. So, we prefer to defend an opinion instead of discarding it in order to observe real life without the prior assumptions that we all hold. It is true that assuming what things are like to some extent is inevitable; our brain works like that. However, our obstinacy about questioning our opinions and beliefs, makes us see the world from our own particular perspective and this does not allow us to see the world exactly as it is. The logical consequence of our obstinacy is that we live enclosed in our own stale views, we only learn what they let us, in other words, we only admit those opinions or beliefs that are aligned with those we already have.
And what is more, as my opinions and beliefs give me security, I protect them as if they were life itself and I defend them from all comers. I become my opinions and I fight those who oppose me, that is, there is no peace within me, if I see the world through them. I said previously that we overlook many things in order to defend ourselves; honesty, empathy, understanding, our own knowledge, truth and peace. When I defend, I fight. If I fight there is no peace inside me or outside. Maybe we could stop treating our opinions as being so important, since they are only ideas inspired by tradition, society, education, fashion, ideology…they are hardly ever the result of in depth research, but rather an automatic and unconscious raising of barriers between my opinions and yours.
Is it not possible that we are more than our opinions?
Is it not possible that we could feel good without fighting for the most idiotic things?
We can only answer these when we observe ourselves when we express opinions to defend what we think.
And what would happen if you did not defend it?
Could we not share our doubts and explore them together without any pre-conceived ideas instead of being confrontational?
I suspect that it would be much more rewarding, if we dared to have doubts, to examine them and share them and to grow from them, without defending anything.