This one’s a bit personal, so click away if you’re not willing to read my spiel about absolutely nothing. Ultimately, this piece of writing is insignificant; merely a way for me to explain something very particular about my life. Forgive the nihilism, for there will be a lot of it.
Those of who that follow and/or know me through social media have noticed that I tend to not share my opinion on topics as much as I used to. Sure, you’ll see my occasional quip about some relevant event or I might make a string of tweets moaning about some anime or something. But for the most part, it’s been radio silence from me regarding my feelings on things. Now why is that?
In the dense black hole that is the internet and its comments sections, I immediately realized that I was fighting a sour battle; not even a losing one, but a pointless one. The act of arguing on the internet is time consuming, tiring, and essentially meaningless. That is unless you have some kind of influence or prestige within online communities. Let’s be real here; not all opinions are created equal. Something completely profound that’s said from a popular figure is given more weight than those from anyone else.
Upon this realization, was the sobering choice I decided to make: to just stop trying. The child-like naivete which I carried, one that led me to believe that my voice could make a difference, has long since departed. These days, it’s not about distributing common sense or utilizing logic, it’s about having the loudest voice. Or being the most controversial. Or taking an extreme side. No one pays attention to the quiet guy until one day he smashes a plate against the wall.
And quite frankly, I am not that guy. I’m not a person willing to risk what little peace of mind I have in my life just to receive a few nods from people. Of course, I still crave the drug of validation like everyone else, but recently I’m finding it…unnecessary. I’ve found more fulfillment in my life from achieving personal goals and having fun, being devoid of much money, social interactions or a love interest to fill that void. If that sounds ‘sad’ to you, then that’s ok. I got over it a long time ago, so fret not.
The simple fact is that I thought that standing out from the crowd or not being afraid to speak your voice made a difference. Some kind of difference, regardless of how small it may have been. Honestly though? It doesn’t. Not all the time anyway. Success is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Most people fail. Really, the reason we raise up the successful and inspirational to iconic status is because failing is easy, but winning is hard. Therefore, the successful deserve the praise they get. It’s a good thing, honestly.
In light of that, devoid of such successes and realizing that a lot of it was self-serving, I began to keep my opinions to myself. Stayed out of discussions, stopped arguments in their tracks, and agreed to disagree. Some might see that as me being dismissive or callous, but it’s not. I’m simply choosing to acknowledge someone’s opinion, disagreeing, but keeping my ideas to myself to avoid unnecessary conflict.
I’ll be honest; it actually perplexes me that others seem to care what I think at all. I’m not that much smarter than anyone else, even if once I deluded myself into believing so. I’m no authority on anything, and any wisdom I have is as good as the limited experience I possess. My opinions are so often contrarian to what most people I know closely say, that honestly it’s exasperating. They want to know what I think, but to what end? The opinions will be traded, nothing will change and no consensus will be reached. How then is this different from the opinion never being shared at all?
If debates are only made for the purpose of entertainment in mass media or validating people’s already pre-held assumptions, then I want no part in them. When logic takes a back seat to emotion and socio-politics, then I’m sorry but that’s where I get off the train.
Consider also the insanity of internet outrage culture. The mere act of sharing an unpopular opinion is enough to get you character assassinated and have your livelihood ruined. Over an opinion. Once, I thought fame and popularity was glamorous, or a way to do good by a large amount of people. Now though? I reel at the thought of getting more attention that what I have now. I’m happy for the fans and friends I have, but that’s where I draw the line. I refuse to become another target for people’s idiocy and vitriol, all because I couldn’t fall in line with the prevailing narrative. It’s not even fear that holds me back, it’s annoyance.
So let’s look at the criteria: small, non-extreme voices are swept away in the tide. Without the need for validation, pursuing agreement from others is superficial. Attempting to succeed with opinions alone is a long, thankless road. Debates, though gratifying and entertaining, are pointless in terms of any actual progress. So given all these conditions, let me ask you, the reader: what is the point of me sharing my opinion at all?
I will add the very important caveat that my nihilism here is not discounting the accomplishments of people who stood for what they believed in. I don’t completely think that no one can make a difference, or that debates/opinions are pointless in themselves.
I simply just decided to discard my idealism and embrace the reality of my situation. And that reality is just me, some…guy, like any other guy. Not the smartest guy, not the coolest, nicest, best looking, charming, influential, imposing or likeable guy. Just a guy. And a guy who’s chosen to keep things to himself. My opinions never made my life any better. So I hardly see keeping those opinions to myself going to make my life any worse. At least I hope so.
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