The beauty of difference of opinion

Excellent! There is a social object (often a cultural work – a piece of art, an episode of a TV show, a song) that we have a shared experience/knowledge of.

Oh. Your opinion/reaction/interpretation to/of that thing is different from mine. It could be negative, whereas mine is positive, or maybe we agree overall, but have picked out different aspects of the thing to react to.

That’s OK though. Right now, our reactions are not the same. Rather than shoot you down and dismiss your opinions as wrong and invalid, I would like to learn more about your opinions. Tell me more. Point to specific things within the Thing, and educate me on the reasons behind your views.

I may end up agreeing with your views, and sharing them. I may not. But what’s most important is that I understand, as much as possible, what that opinion is, and the reasons behind it. Because I want to learn. Because, if and when I create my *own* social objects or cultural works, I want to understand and anticipate the ways in which people might react.

And, I want to make things better. I want to make better things.

I want some way in which, once I’ve seen that there’s someone I can talk to about a shared cultural social object, we can discuss it – each of us without fear that the other is trying to knock us down, or might interpret our actions as belittling them.

Some way in which I can say “hey, you watched that thing too? I don’t understand your opinion, but I want to. Show me, teach me. Help me understand.”

Total agreement and consensus is very, very difficult, if not impossible, on these things. But that is OK. That is fine. That is the beauty of these things. Not every opinion is correct (if, indeed, there is a ‘correct’ definition at all), but understanding the reasons behind the opinions, that is the crucial thing.

Understanding, learning. Creating a giant patchwork of multiple, differing opinions, some shared, some not, all with common reference points. The biggest network of cultural understanding possible.

All this ‘one-URL-per-Thing’, all that work that I do – that’s not the end game. What I’ve written here, is. The goal is to give us the hooks, the handles, the things to point at, all so that we can use them to discuss, share, learn and understand. We come together over shared social objects. We share opinions. We discuss, we understand, we learn, we grow, we enjoy the beauty of difference, the fact that it doesn’t all make sense.

We revel in the absurd idea of stringing it all into one coherent line. The fun is in the nonsense.

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