We open today’s diatribe with a quote from ‘The Big Lebowski.’ I think Jeff Bridges is cool. Here’s my evidence- Perhaps you feel differently? After all- for every opinion there seems to be a counter out there. We may think we are in safe territory with an apparently self-evident statement such as “murder is wrong” but there are all kinds of ways of scratching away the validity of a statement. What defines murder? ‘Is’ implies the absolute, and is murder always wrong? What is wrong?
Semantics aren’t a particularly jolly subject and you may find my comments to be hackneyed and self-congratulatory. Bear with me, I may weave a joke or something in. Well done me.
It’s ‘Pride’ season in the UK. No, I don’t mean the country is awash with large groups of lions- you silly billies, I mean Gay pride. I came across this story online-
Now, I should say here that I feel proud to say that I don’t think being gay is wrong. Although, Bernie Ecclestone and Vladimir Putin would have us think differently-
A classic case of a differing of opinion. Here are some more opinions of mine-
-Bernie Ecclestone is a dick
-Vladimir Putin is an ambitious axe man
Now for an opinion we can all relate to-
“I think it’s wrong” We all say / think this about something. We hear people say it all the time. We either agree, disagree, are indifferent, ambivalent or confused. But what does the statement actually mean? I propose that it means very little, if anything. Here’s my reasoning-
Here ‘I’ refers to oneself. Surely there is no subject that we are baffled by more and no individual we can trust less. We change almost unrecognisably from year to year, we constantly surprise ourselves by doing and saying bizarre things (I once smoked a grasshopper, for example), we disappoint, abuse, delude and confound ourselves daily. My mother once knew a man who believed himself to be Rudolf the red nosed reindeer- an opinion held as firmly as any other, I’m sure.
To think is to… well what is it? I’m not sure. I’m thinking about it and the thought process I am having can’t even conclude what it itself is. Is it my brain? Presumably? So how does consciousness spring from grey matter? All questions… no definitive answers.
I like what Emily Dickinson thought though-
“The brain is wider than the sky.” Emily Dickinson
Depends on the subject I guess. If we take ‘being gay’ as an example- it’s certainly not black and white, it’s a wide spectrum (OPINION ALERT). I’ve kissed boys, does that make me gay? Was Elton John gay when he was married? Are dogs gay when they shag their male owners leg? Who can say?
The fact that opinions differ at all tells us that this concept is as difficult to pin down as a very slippery thing (my use of metaphor amazes even myself). If murder is wrong why do our taxes pay for war? And so on.
All of a sudden the simple statement “I think it’s wrong’ is rendered ridiculous. It seems insanely arrogant that we act so confidently upon the most flimsy of perceptions.
There is only one thing that I am totally certain of- nobody, especially me, knows what the fuck they are talking about. We are all entitled to our opinions but it is conceited in the extreme to suggest we are correct. And I’m probably ‘wrong’ about that too, and everything else.
So, that’s it.
DISCLAIMER: Lions aren’t Gay… often.