by Jen Faulkner
Recently many aspects of my life have given me cause to think about how people come to have certain opinions. It fascinates me how, often without any experience or factual knowledge to back their opinions up, people still hold the opinion that they are entitled to their opinion, and are determined to convince others of the same. I’m also interested as to how opinions are formed and how they can be dangerous when taken from propaganda, hearsay, or an unreliable source.
And so with the Paris attacks this week, where the opinions of the suicide bombers were clear, and the opinions of others in the aftermath were voiced, I thought I would write a letter to an opinion itself.
Recently many things have happened in the world, which make me doubt you contain any good at all. And that’s a great shame because your power has the ability to resolve conflicts and create a united world. If only people knew how to handle you.
You work best on the ignorant, on those that feel they are entitled to you because of your content, and that it can be adapted to prove the point they so strongly feel needs to be heard. Do you feel empowered by this? Or when someone turns you in to a belief so strong that it makes them end friendships, disown family members, or even kill?
You make people vulnerable because they often believe you without having all of the facts. And then, when people link you with politics or religion without evidence or having done any real, solid research, you become even more dangerous. But then you enjoy that. Gain strength by feeding people and making them seek out others who think the same, until they form an army of poorly informed, angry and disillusioned people.
These are people who accept the dark side of you because they have mothers, fathers or friends who think in the same way. Or worse…because they are so disillusioned and feeling misplaced that they feel comforted by holding onto you tight. They are enlightened; they have found people who think the same way. They are then led to believe that you are he only way forward, the truth, their destiny. Judgments are made. Groups of people are tarred with the same brush. They then feel they are entitled to you and must voice damaging words in order to reach out to other broken souls.
If only you came with a manual or instruction booklet. Then people would know how to use you correctly. They’d find the evidence and facts needed in order to form you properly. Some people believe everything they read or hear and then try and convince others to think the same.
You could hold so much power and have the ability to change the world for the better, if only people invested in you more and took you seriously.
No one is entitled to you. But then, that’s just my opinion, right?
Send your letter to Jen Faulkner, email Jen.Faulkner@bristolwoman.org.uk