‘Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man’

Matthew Colwell

Lambasting the culture that surrounds you can garner some enemies. I can attest to this. It is built into our society to be blindly obedient. From constant religious pressures to continually stricter laws, and the lack of knowledge about them, critical thought is on the outs.

It is commonplace to see the criticizer criticized for criticizing. Tunnel vision is running rampant. We become convinced of an ideal and once we latch onto it there is no more logical discussion on the matter. In this blunder of close-mindedness, we seem to forget the necessity of criticism. Understanding and checking your belief system is as important as having it in the first place.

When presented with a varying viewpoint, you need to have logical reasoning for why you believe what you do. If there is no way to rationalize your belief system to someone else, that leaves you with no solid grounding.

It isn’t a rationalization to abide by something “just because.” It shows someone has no personal understanding of why they abide by something the way they do. This tends to lead to a personal favorite cowardly act: “Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

By 2010, relativity and subjectivity are pretty widely held as truth, or at least to a point. But the very entrance into conversation accounts for the desire for an objective truth or agreement on the matter. And if you aren’t searching for a truth between those involved in the conversation, you’re only searching for your own beliefs to be reassured.

Rejecting this criticism is the very reason progress stops on any matter. By listening and analyzing a separate view on a matter, it will show the flaws in your own belief. It also will help you see the logic in someone else’s.

As aforementioned, we can all account for the subjectivity of life; there isn’t always one logical path to follow. But this doesn’t excuse us from letting our own irrationality continue to be left unchecked. There needs to be critical discourse to understand yourself and be grounded in what you believe.

You can only surround yourself with reassurance again and again for so long before you lose sight of the fact that you have no idea why you are who you are and any hint of self-awareness has vanished.

Having open ears to the world’s many views can serve as the most eye-opening experience. Let go of your comfort zone, listen and rationalize. You don’t have to always change your mind, but you can better understand your own to show others. And when chastised for criticizing, know at the end of each day you keep your mind open and, well, “haters gonna hate.”

Matthew Colwell is a junior integrated language arts major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].