But whereas it used to bother me that I was so open to persuasion, now I am perfectly happy to put up with what others might regard as the discomfort of uncertainty. —Mark Palmer, “In defence of having no opinion“
There’s been some minor drama in the paleo space lately. I don’t feel like hashing through it all, but it’s involved mud slinging and character assassination and some other crap.
Anyway, the other day I was sitting there reading this long article about this mess, trying to sift through it all, trying to decide who gets my vote, and for what, in this whole thing.
And I did formulate a few pretty clear opinions about elements of what was happening in this mini-drama.
But the story, the bigger picture of it, wouldn’t quit. It was like some overriding internal force was trying to goad me to make up my mind about the whole thing somehow. To land on that larger, deeper idea, that grand cohesive opinion about all of it as it was being presented to me.
You maybe know that voice. The one that tells you you need to get harderbetterfasterstronger at making up your mind and telling the world what you think or this age of miracles is going to pass you by.
I was starting to get antsy.
Then, a breath of sanity wafted in, and told me to f*** it.
And I threw my hands up in relief and remembered I’m not required to have an opinion about everything everyone writes about anyone everywhere.
Feeling that way too much is just plain disempowering, y’all.
A little later, I googled “not having an opinion.” Unsurprisingly, not having an opinion isn’t exactly SEO gold dust. There was no blast of clickbait—no “7 Mind-Blowing Ways To Not Have An Opinion,” no “You Won’t Believe How Unopinionated This Tea Partier Is!”
The article I quoted from up top was the 10th result on the first page, floating in a stagnant pool of dictionary entries, song lyrics, and Yahoo! Answers, um, confusions. The only other thing that jumped out on the first page of results (coming in at #8) was this: “Not Having an Opinion Gives You Better Judgment.”
Yes, not always having an opinion doesn’t just help keep you sane. Deciding to—or at least figuring out a way to—not always have an opinion is pretty much a skill that can improve your judgment. And it sure can save you some time and stress.
So what do you think about all of this? Don’t answer that.