Sunday, November 30, 2014

Opinion

Yeah.  Sorry about yesterday's post.  Seems every once in awhile the negativity just gets to me.

I'd like to make a prediction.  Within two or three generations - you will probably encounter this in your grandchildren - it will be the height of social rudeness to give your opinion about anything.  I don't mean that you won't have an opinion, or that you won't be free to choose what you like - its only that, like describing your last visit to the bathroom, you'll say nothing on the subject.

That's because all this negativity will reach a head with folks younger than us.  Activities like watching movies or listening to music or participating in anything provide escapism . . . but the rise of the internet has produced an escapism where the pleasure is in pissing into everyone else's bliss.  This permeation persists because it's new.  For later generations it won't be.

Like some of you, I can still recall a time when you saw a film and the next day it was fun to talk to other people who had also seen it.  Those were good five or ten minute conversations you might have at some point during the day.  Progressively, these have become the only conversations.  They last all day long and they do not leave you with a feeling of satisfaction at their end.  Worse, you're able to identify the source of your dissatisfaction - the fact that you took part.

Right now, it is easier to say that you never saw a film than to have an opinion about it.  It is increasingly better in a social context to say "I don't listen to music" than it is to explain what music you listen to.  This is the deeper, more pervasive trend that is rising.  At present, the media is all wrapped up in the flame wars and the abuse, but the end result of all of this is silence.

If I were a science fiction writer, I would put together a story about four or five people who cheerfully moved through their workday, happy to be at the desks, getting things done, feeling fulfilled - and not talking at all.  They'd enter their building, nod to others, smile, then sit at their desks and move through the whole day in silence.  It would all be very eerie, with plenty of hard work to keep them busy, with descriptions about the ache in their bodies and their intensive loneliness, a price they'd agreed to pay in order to feel productive and fulfilled by meeting their quotas and the freedom from persecution or propaganda.  Silence, blessed silence.

Then, quietly, this little group would drift into a warehouse at night, walking from their cars parked a mile away; each would have their own key to the back door where there was no light.  Each would fearfully move down a flight of stairs into a basement room, where silently then would sit down upon one of a circle of chairs.  Each would take out a book they had brought with them.  Then they would begin to talk.

It would be trepidatious at first, but steadily each person would become more passionate about their opinion.  Two in particular would build up an argument and this would eventually end in their pulling out weapons and shooting or stabbing each other.  Everyone else in the room would turn silent.  The uninjured would file out, while the combatants - without any consideration - would leave the injured to bleed out or finish each other off.

The next day the police would find the two bodies, and one would say, "Yeah, these people just like it.  Seriously, they can't wait to die.  I've seen some film of this shit and all these people need is enough motivation to get themselves ready to kill or be killed.  There's a lot of suicidal people get into this."  Then he'd pause and say, "That's the only way these people can feel anything."

And the other cop would reply, "Is that your opinion?"

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