Hey! Hey! Listen to Me! I Know What I’m Talking About!
Differences of opinion matter. Some years ago, the late noble prize winning Doctor Albert Schweitzer was being interviewed in London and a reporter asked him, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!” (excerpt from “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale). Many years later, a news talk show host who is known for his strong political beliefs was asked “Why do you want people to think like you so much?” The talk show host quickly responded that he did not want people to think like him! Far from it! He just wants people to think. He concluded his answer with the sentence “Without differences of opinion, there can be no intelligent debate.” Oh how true those words!
What Opinions Have You Shared with Others Recently?
The other day I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on the subject of the War of Drugs. Among the panel participants were the local chief of police as well as a retired detective, a local newspaper editor and a couple of highly respected scholars from the Northeast. The main question for the panel was whether the drug policy in place today in the U.S. was working or whether it needed to be changed. As one could imagine, this was a very hotly debated topic indeed. After the panel gave their views on the subject, the audience was given time to ask the panel their own questions on it. There were microphones on either side of the auditorium for people to come up and ask their question. So what happened next? For the next 45 minutes to an hour, many people came up to the mic not to ask a question but to give their views on the subject. Most people, about 4 out of every 5 without exaggeration, proceeded to give their opinion on the subject and not ask a question. More like pontificate really. So much so that people in attendance were becoming increasingly agitated at some of those who chose to go up to the microphone. This was especially the case for people who went on at the mic for about 5 to 10 minutes.
While this scene was going on, I couldn’t help but wonder why so many people were coming up to the mic to not ask a question but to sound off about their views. Right then and there I remembered something a learned a long time ago. Everyone wants to be of value. It is a basic human need that every person feels. We all want to know that we have some sort of purpose in life. Why am I saying this? Because I’ve been very fortunate to have met a large number of people over the years and not a day goes by when a person is more than willing to give their point of view on something (whether it was asked for or notJ). Now…is there really anything wrong with giving one’s opinion? Of course not, but just like everything, there is a time and a place for everything.
Are there opinions you’d like to share? What are some of your thoughts?