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Responsible opining | Just Reflections - Issue #10
Welcome back. I hope you had a great week; I did. I cracked a problem that had bothered us for a while at work, then I had a fantastic weekend which ended with a great meetup with friends. I love hosting people, seeing people feel at home, having great conversation and great food just fills my cup, so I’m happy that after ages of lockdowns we can finally do that.
Anyway, I’m a serial procrastinator and I always write the newsletter on Sunday evenings. This usually works out but — as I just explained — a lot was going on this Sunday and I’m beat, but I also don’t want to break my writing streak because I am still building a habit. So I’ll keep this short today. Here are the ideas that were top of mind for me this week.
I’ve written before about how the easy availability of information on the internet makes it easy for us to feel like we are experts at things that we know little about. This week I have a few more reflections to remind us to think a little more about our opinions and how liberally we throw them out. Some of them are quite ill-considered and downright dumb.
I found this beautifully written article by Malcolm Gladwell where he talks about this very issue. You owe it to yourself to read it!
What I found valuable after hearing about Norm Macdonald’s death was not watching his old greatest hits on YouTube. It was reading the eulogies written…
Here are a few quotes from it:
“Twitter invites me to tweet out my instant reaction on [things I’m not well informed about]. But catering to the impulses of the uninformed is kind of a dumb way to conduct civil discourse in a society.” — Malcolm Gladwell.
While we may provide a stream-of-consciousness commentary on everything going on around us, we need to know constantly that many times we are uninformed and our opinions sometimes take away more than they add. As Gladwell aptly puts it;
“All of us, in the areas where we are outsiders, are prone to thinking and saying things that are just plain dumb. The trick is to recognize when we are in that zone, and keep our mouths shut.” — Malcolm Gladwell.
Read the article!!
The second article is one I read a while ago that return to occasionally to remind myself to curb my enthusiasm. We live in a society where people are always outraged by something new every day, so much that our outrage has become meaningless. Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles puts it much better than I ever could.
Before social media, protest was provocative and empowering. Outrage used to mean something – now it’s just another hashtag, writes Radio 1 presenter Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles
In case you need encouragement to read it, here are a few quotes from it to whet your appetite.
“Being outraged allows you to take the moral high ground. It reaffirms your righteousness. It lets you say: ‘I am offended and therefore I am principled.’ It lets you jump on the bandwagon and pledge allegiance to the latest campaign on your timeline. It gives you a vehicle to add your name to the narrative. It proves that you are following current affairs, albeit from the comfortable vantage point of your Instagram feed. It allows you to place yourself on the virtuous side of the conversation. It says: ‘I am woke.’ And for that reason, outrage has become currency.” — Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles.
“Outrage used to require more than a caption under a reposted picture. It required action and intent. It was the train that aimed to move protest toward progress. It was not a chess piece in a consumerist game. It was not an empty statement to endear oneself to the demographic-of-the-day. It was warranted and validated.” — Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles.
“If we are all outraged all of the time, then outrage simply becomes the default setting. Nobody’s outrage is given its rightful platform for any significant period of time … Excessive outrage derails movements by adding too many trains to the track. … By shouting about everything, we are creating a deafening silence where outrage is without consequence.” — Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles.
You don’t have enough outrage to go around. Choose the cause that matters to you, to which you will invest your outrage for maximum profit, don’t just spray at everything that moves.
Let me stop here before I quote the entire article. Read it for yourself. I promise it will challenge you.
That’s all I have for you this week. If you like the newsletter, consider sharing it with others on Twitter, WhatsApp or Facebook. Hit the thumbs up or thumbs down below to let me know what you think about the issue.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about this week and I wish you ever-increasing curiosity.
Until next week.
Impactful ideas that challenged my thinking.
I have a lot of interests so I'm always learning all kinds of things, some of which really challenge my thinking. In the Just Reflections newsletter, I'll be sharing with you a summary of the ideas that challenged my thinking recently and hopefully they will challenge yours too and we grow together.
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