Sense and Sensitivity

In this age of revolution, technology, revolution via technology and free speech, opinions are expressed instantly, often anonymously and therefore without consequence. Most of the times its great ! I can say whatever I want and feel like I’m being heard. I can say whatever I want without really being confronted in person. All’s good right ? Maybe?

I am not an impulsive person when it comes to opinions. I put some thought into what I say and mean it. While everyone is different I like to believe that there is a general sense of propriety and sensitivity with which we handle other individuals. In other words, I’d like to think that we as humans are sensitive to the emotions of other humans and treat them with respect. In my mind, that extends to opinions too. However, for some reason I feel like there is a growing insensitivity among people for other people’s opinions and emotions. Whether this is because of the rise of social media, general awareness of the current state of affairs or whatever. People seem to care less about how other people feel, or so I think. If someone attempts to start a discourse on social media, that expresses ideas contrary to the current “trend” of beliefs, that person is usually subjected to some nasty verbal abuse or shutting up of some sort. On the other hand, there are posts that are insensitive in themselves. Then again the line between insensitivity and opinion voicing is pretty blurry, I guess.

However the main question here is, is there no room for intelligent debate? Is it too much to ask people to view another individual’s opinion not as an attack on their beliefs but an attempt to “figure things out”? And if it is an attack can we be expected to respond with sensible arguments that defend ourselves instead of nasty comments that are meant to put ourselves above the other person. In my opinion it comes down to whether the point of a debate is to agree upon a solution or whether it’s to win an argument. Winning is always great right? It gives you credibility about yourself, takes some of those pesky insecurities away. But it also generates some awkwardness and a sense of animosity between the debaters. The two of them might end up loathing each other after the argument. Is this the solution that we really want for issues in today’s world?

My point is, how can we expect others to respect our opinions when we don’t respect theirs? And this respect often times is what leads to discourse that ends up making huge impacts on the society. It’s easy to call names, threaten and verbally abuse someone’s beliefs and it’s as easy to win over someone. What’s not easy is to convince them and gain their trust. It’s not easy to be perceptive to other’s opinions even if they might be in strong contradiction to yours. It’s not easy to be sensitive enough to reconcile differences and listen to somebody trash talk everything that you care about. Finally, it’s definitely not easy to be patient enough to develop an understanding between yourself and someone who’s views are the Cain to your Abel. But, I think that it’s worth trying if we really want to do something about the issues that are infecting society today. And that friends, marks the end of my ranting.

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