“Fish not, with this melancholy bait
For this fool-gudgeon, this opinion”
The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene I)
Whether we sneak into tweets, blogs or snogs to take a peak or open up the broadsheets and listen to a broadcast to be informed, every which way we turn we are pinned down by the ever expanding pine of opinion.
We are in the age of glum views and wall-to-wall disaster news. Never have so many people had such a global opportunity to complain so much about so little and avoid so easily that which matters most.
Filtering out what the truth is in all this noisy complaint is as big a gamble as any played in Las Vegas. Poisons have been sold, idiots have been elected and wars have been fought for less. Weapons of mass self deception cloud our weary eyes.
There's nothing wrong with negative opinions, some critiques are so finely tuned they border on art or good journalism. They are ethical, objective, grounded in realism, emotionally neutral, like fine cuts of meat carved carefully away from heart clogging fat of conceit.
Other times, vile opinions are so soiled in self, so mired in vanity, they poison anything they touch.
The term ‘opinion’ derives from the Latin term “optare” which means to ‘desire or choose”.
Such desires shape our choices. Our words beget our conversations, beget our decisions, beget our deeds, beget our relationships and therefore our lives. When our views of others are vieled in sadness, it can make for a good poem, a wistful argument, a pointless fight or an excuse for a stiff drink, but I sometimes wonder if all this negativity is just an easy way out?
People who are melancholic have always been deemed to be cooler than the bright, sparking and positive variety of homo sapien. It is also a darn sight easier to dismiss a fellow human being than have to take the time to know how much they are (more or less) the same as yourself.
Are we the masters of our negative opinions or slaves to those that we have been fed?
In an age of increasingly polarised news agencies, endless avalanche of email, Facebook posts, micro-blogs and instagrams, it is not easy to keep our head above water. It is so easy to be drawn into the whirlpool, constantly being drawn in for our comments, likes and follows... and before we know it, we are yet another plankton merrily tweeting away our lives in the ocean of public opinion.
We need to be more sensitised and aware now than ever of the crapshoot of negative opinion, as it may shape our lies far more than we know, as it rots into our lives.
“I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please; for so fools have”
As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII)