Last night I had a somewhat philosophical debate with my 13-year-old daughter. We discussed objectivity. I personally tire of any philosophy that claims objectivity is easy and entirely possible. My daughter told me I shouldn’t be so existential like she used to be. We were trying to figure out whether we should live our lives by feelings or logic. I don’t understand people who believe logic can be separated from feelings to make better decisions. People who believe feelings should be separated from logic when making decisions don’t understand me.
Our conversation digressed. She explained that one of the “servers” or chat rooms that she created would frequently get a “dissenter”… someone who is disrespectful, doesn’t follow the rules and has clear disregard for saying the “right things.” She said, “Weird thing is, those people who seem to go along so strongly with the “theme” and “PC” protocol of the chatroom will often chat with me to the side and dissent from the “norm” in a one-on-one conversation with me.”
I explained to her that this is the way it is in the #professional world too. As a part of a group, we all swarm in the direction of a certain moral or way of thinking, often giving up our right to dissent or else be seen as a “bad” person who wants to upset the apple cart just for the sake of causing a ruckus. Of course, these are all internal “feelings” and we reason that we don’t want to be “one of those people” whose ability and willingness to think critically and have an opinion goes to the extreme of, God forbid hurting the feelings of the group, and worst yet, getting fired.
So, how do we “be ourselves” in a world that’s become so complex? My daughter suggested I stop thinking about it and just live. I said, “You mean dock myself and empty the contents until it’s time to go back out and vacuum the rest of the house?” Trust me, I’d love to sit on the couch all day and eat the proverbial bon-bons of brotherhood oblivion but I don’t believe my logical friends will “get the check” for me over the long haul. At some point, I’m going to have to learn how to live fluidly within different constructs to get the outcome I’m trying to achieve.
My question is this, how do you live in this world respectfully with others, and maintain your individuality that includes having an actual opinion without also ticking people off because you’ve managed not to be politically correct?