Symposium: The Call for Opinions! (Being Individual)
Symmachy | Thinking Differently |Symposium 1 – Individuality
One of the main recurrent topics of the site is about the importance of the individual and the value of developing a unique and personalised view of the world and your place within it. I am calling now for contributions; real discussions of philosophical topics, that switch the mind out of a sense of complacent indolence and into a more valued pride in the individual view. This is not a call for ostentation but a playground for thoughts and for “paupers to trade their wares”.
Optimistic as this may be I believe that to act with a positive intention will likely be much more conductive in creating a positive reaction than by not trying at all. I have faith that there are plenty of top thinkers out there who can put me in my place!
To start off this first Symposium1 I am going to be discussing a few of the ways we can Stimulate Individual Thinking and how much this has to do with our Formative Influences in the production of the individual viewpoint. Share your own opinions on what kind of learning you were encouraged to produce; what changes have occurred in your life to stimulate a different way of thinking and how you think this has affected you today?
I believe that the main way we can encourage the growth of the individual mind is by increasing the sample rate; to encourage the individual to find himself by offering him/her alternate suggestions on how he can live his life. You cannot tell an individual to be just so, no more than you can tell somebody to love you. It just happens if it feels natural and if the situation is conductive to that kind of result. I have been very fortunate in my life to have some highly intelligent formative influences who introduced me to things that the average 20-something wouldn’t have been exposed to. Great music; philosophical talk; discussions about morality, drugs and the dominator culture, all things that played a part in the symposiums of various after-dinner chats and by the fire sides on camping trips. We would talk late into the night sometimes. The adults would talk the big stuff and occasionally I’d butt in. Sometimes people would agree and sometimes they’d share some information on how my view had been influenced by what little I had seen of the world, opening my eyes and allowing me to reformulate in my stubborn way.
It was by realising how little I knew; how few books I’d read, how young I was; how little of the world i had seen; how little I had experienced of drugs, sex, spirituality etc, that I began to look afield for new things and developed a more open personality. I believe that if I had grown up in a house where all we did was watch X-Factor every night I would have turned out very ignorant indeed; obstinate in an uninformed opinion and not realising that I knew very little about what I truly believed.Opening up a discussion can be hard when you know nothing about the topic but when that’s all around you and you observe the various sides of arguments you begin to trust in your own voice. You can have an opinion on anything you want and it’s completely yours, to form and create based upon your empirical observations, readings, experiences etc.
I believe that the main problem people have in developing opinions is that we are only offered one way; the way of slaves and masters. We don’t think of ourselves as slaves of course but we all want to be masters; masters of wealth and our own domains. We all want to own a large estate it seems, with a pool and a big garden and all the privileges that come along with that; the ability to have pride in wealth and the potentiality that such wealth suggests. This is the way it is on television where the rich and famous are a cult of personality; heroes we look up to and the poor are chavs; undesirable, asbo carrying criminals with an NVQ in getting pregnant at 13 and pissing out lager onto your car bonnet. We’re conditioned by such preconceptions and however harsh they appear when painted out nearly everyone believes in such class barriers and it appears that such dissolved class barriers are really coming back!
The reason opinions are defunct in such a system is that there is only one way offered and that is in the recognised norm; the way of television and the choice between the way of the masters who obtain all knowledge and the “slaves”2 who regurgitate and submerge themselves in a lack of knowledge. It is not uncommon to see people devalue themselves in the eyes of their heroes (anyone clever or important enough to be on the tv) and to elevate their unconscious opinions over those of the under-privileged lower classes.
Q. It is fair to suggest that such a culture is a product of a formal conditioning? Not to blame parents of course but is the lack of an alternative environment to blame, when all reinforces the view of the TV eye?
Q. How can we encourage such thinking in a state of powerful formative influence?
Please contribute and share your opinions.
Keep Thinking Differently, Keep Fighting Together.
1 I should note that these are not the symposiums of flagrant male copulation and excessive drinking of Plato’s day!
2 I do not intend to paint labels on the unintelligent proportions of society and believe intelligence has very little to do with being a good, well-rounded human personality.