Sunday, August 21, 2005

Independence equals arguments

Independence equals arguments.

If you try to be innovative, creative, non-conformist, anti-mediocre, beyond the run-of-the-mill, special, unique, unusual, non-boring, or simply "yourself"...

...expect conflict to come banging on your door.

You may be shy, reticent, withdrawn, quiet, reserved, and given to understatement.

Too bad for you.

You won't stay meek and mild for long.

Sooner or later, someone will force you into a position in which you'll have to take a strong and not uncertain stand. You'll either express your contrary opinion, politely stifle yourself, or retreat into a cowardly hole.

I'm not saying that confrontation is always appropriate or productive. Sometimes it's best to just ignore statements, keep your thoughts to yourself, and seek common ground in some other territory.

But many times, you must speak up and voice your opinion. To remain silent and unassuming may be interpreted as agreement, or being too dumb to even have any opinion.

If you bow to peer pressure, if you want to be "liked" more than anything else, if you hate and dread any kind of conflict, you might have an easy, wimpy life. But if you think outside the box, if you form independent opinions, if you question everything, get ready for a rough, unpleasant, and uncomfortable life.

I'm contrarian and confrontational. My life is often rough, unpleasant, and uncomfortable. And I love every minute of it.

Understand this: I'm not saying I love arguing and debating. I'm not saying I'm intellectually superior to those who disagree with me. I'm not even saying that I love discussing concepts and innovation in art, music, philosophy, and technology.

All I mean to communicate to you is this: I love study, research, and exploration. I love working hard to understand a topic, then expressing the insights I've gained, expressing them in wording that is as perfect and persuasive as possible.

That's what I like. Having well-informed ideas and communicating them with finesse and power. That's a lot of fun. And hopefully, beneficial to others.

And, whether I like it or not, whether I'm in the mood for it or not, I find myself engaged in arguments quite often. Even so, I don't antagonistically prolong these debates, I don't deliberately seek them, and I don't necessarily enjoy them.

What often happens is someone else will state something as a fact or a taste that is then "bullied" onto others. You must agree, and you shall agree. I then voice my disagreement, or a question, or a reservation, and all hell breaks loose. If at all possible, I'm made to look like the bad guy, for daring to question the crybaby bully's opinions. I'm made to look like the argumentative one.

It's like, "If you agree with me and worship my opinions, you're cool. However, if you dare to express an alternative idea or if you boldly deviate from my impeccable tastes, you're an irrational, argumentative, lazy thinking, stubbornly stupid drama queen."

Arrogance cannot acknowledge competition. The other side is wrong, evil, and hopelessly ignorant about everything. That's how we got political parties, religious sects, and warring philosophical camps.

Be an independent thinker, but also steel yourself for the inevitable combat.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



carrie said...

i find that i often naturally gravitate to playing devil's advocate in most arguments. pretty predictable of me, i suppose. ho hum... ;^P

steven edward streight said...

I know what you mean.

When everyone seems to be nodding their heads in mindless agreement about some issue, film, political position, music band, etc.

Lemmings unthinkingly diving over the cliffs to drown in their happy herd instinct delirium.

Sheep headed for the slaughter.

Smiling morons sinking slowly in an ideological dystopia, where everyone agrees with and likes everyone else.

carrie said...

my dad used to quote someone who said "if everyone's doing it you can bet it's wrong!" something like that. it may have been anthony de mello

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

I got in an argument, well, not really so much as an argument but more me talking loudly in a bar about my passion for Brett Favre, greatest quarterback of all time. If I am passionate about something, and when I'm drunk, I don't shut up. It's really a problem. The one thing I don't even touch anymore are politics and religion discussions in public places. Too dramatic. Steven Streight, I like your style.

steven edward streight said...

Carrie: I agree, as usual, with your dad's wisdom.

DisgruntCarSales: thanks for visiting, since your blog is listed in my exclusive, wildly notorious Triumphalist Blogger Honor Roll. I liked your style of blogging from the first few sentences I read. I thought, "This person speaks his mind, and doesn't give a fig what anybody thinks, and he's also clever, a good writer, and funny." I was hooked.

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

Check out these two pics I posted on my blog. One is of this dude holding a sign... It's a friggin' scream...