Man, you have no idea how much restraint I showed in titling this today.
So “I Was Wrong Wednesday” looks at the things I was wrong about in my life. Today we are going to look at the idea that everything, no matter how small and trivial or how deeply held and sacred, is up for debate.
I used to live by this idea, and I thought the logic of it was unassailable: every idea has a certain degree of truthfulness to it, and some ideas have a lot less than others. Some even approach zero. If ideas have external merit (or lack it), then they are up for debate. If an idea can’t stand to up debate, it’s a bad idea and should be discarded.
This seems sound, right?
It’s not, especially when the standard of Truth is your own opinion, and your own cherry-picked facts and theories and ideas.
No one knows everything.
But there is a deeper problem here too.
If you see everything as being up for debate, you are not only insufferable and terrible to be around, you are constantly feeding your own ego at the expense of everyone around you.
This was very much me. I am good at arguing, and I tend to learn everything about the things I am interested in. I am good with words, and don’t really get emotional during arguments. These all help me during debates, and they all made me miserable to be around.
Someone likes pop music or a movie I think sucks? Debate.
Someone thinks this or that political party is right or wrong? Debate.
You have a religious or ideological point of view? Debate.
You chose Pepsi over Coke? Debate.
Yes, I was the life of the party.
Look, we aren’t as smart as we think we are.
We haven’t figured out the answers to things that the smartest people who ever lived missed. We are not Neo in the Matrix of philosophy, having realizations that Aristotle and Newton and Bieber completely missed.
We are regular people, living regular lives, and we have things we like and dislike and we are swayed and influenced by the things around us. All of us are bound up by our culture and societal values and religions and ideologies and weird little quirks about what we like and don’t like. None of us have a lock on Truth and what sucks and what doesn’t.
So shut up.
Let someone like Britney Spears or Bon Iver or BABYMETAL. Let them watch Law and Order or E! News Daily or Arrested Development. Let them read Stephen King or Hermann Hesse or Dan Brown. Let them like golf or football or bowling or basketball. None of these are inherently good or bad, they are just there.
But let’s say you are the genius of history, the linchpin that we’ve all been waiting on to tell us what sucks and what doesn’t.
Be smart enough to not feed your own ego with debate over things that don’t matter.
There is only one thing that is objectively and unarguably terrible in this world, and that’s Minions.
Let everything else go.
Thanks for reading.