Olivia Cisneros: What have you been thinking lately?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to keep the peace — less on the world-peace scale, but more so on the societal scale. One type of peace helps protect the country, but the other helps protect the camaraderie in our everyday lives. But this is challenged when we fight over opinions. Opinions, by their definition, can’t be proven, so were you to persist over one, the fight wouldn’t end.

I see people will generally disagree, but trying to keep a certain peace, straying from assumptions, and keeping an open, yet confident, mind in the everyday could be beneficial. Whether battles of opinion can be seen logically from both sides, are ones where new views fight tradition or raise the point that they really aren’t any of our business, can we try to keep the peace? Can we accept that I in no way agree with you, but you just have to deal with it, because you live and breathe around me? Again, we should strive for an open, yet confident, mind — that I, while con- tent with my own beliefs, also acknowledge yours to exist, so we can better coexist.

Wanting people to understand our opinions is natural, and it is great to speak your mind. I personally love doing that, and our world depends on the changes that come from it. We deserve that right, and we intend to keep it, but in our efforts to make all others think like us, do we know when our efforts are without result? When it is just not productive anymore? Our opinions are not the problem; it’s the sureness we have that we can prove those opinions to someone else, when we can’t. This advice is not meant as a way to not offend anyone or to diminish freedom of speech, but to preserve one’s own sanity.

The fight won’t end otherwise. Again, assume you’ll never make them think what you do if you haven’t by now. There is one truth of humanity I’ve identified: It is that each of us or each group of us thinks we have the one undeniable truth. Whether we think what we believe is shared by others or whether we are completely confident in it or not, we think we have the fair answer or have the ability to find it. If we are open to changing our truth, we do, and then that becomes the actual truth to us, and the prior must have been false.

Without the element of hard evidence such as those found in science, social truths are only opinions and therefore not provable. Even if there were one true way of thinking, we would not know it for sure. With this in mind, we come to a conclusion: We can never prove certain views in an indisputable way. That means all we have to argue with is logic.

Logic is a book with no rules and many authors. It is easily disputed with itself and is easily lost in the heat of the moment, so to say, faulty at best. For this reason, were you challenged, you’d fight in a battle you cannot win.

Here you are, looking at an opponent equipped with their own personal logic and confidence just like you. You have the same skill set, the same irritation and the same willingness to explain your viewpoints. However, this presents a problem: You are matched. In a battle, you need force greater than your opponent’s to win. The forces need to have a slight imbalance between them. If they aren’t imbalanced, you just continue to fight. You have only so many points you can make, good ones you think, but your opposition claims the same, so you repeat arguments and get nowhere. You only loop, if you will. And come back to fight time and time again, just wearing out each other’s tolerance, sanity and faith that humanity can see reason.

Is that worth it? The next time you want to argue your beautiful, well-thought-out points with someone who shares your dedication but not your belief, will you waste your time?

So, I’m thinking then, why should we carry on in these battles? I encourage you to start discussions about your beliefs, but if you both stand rig- id, don’t carry on. Not being open to a view is fine, but if that is the case, the discussion should stop. If it will do more harm than good, don’t continue in such battles with no end. Peace over pride, right? I have great opinions, I think, but do I need to fight with a 30-year-old man about philosophy and politics in the Pinterest comment section? Pick your battles, that’s all.

Imagine the potential of just keeping the peace with the people around you or keeping the peace on the internet! Imagine being able to be worked up about one less thing in your day-to- day life. It is the utmost beauty of maintaining societal peace around yourself.

The local philosopher, Olivia Cisneros

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

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