Opinions encompass a broad spectrum of feeling from the extremely trivial or life changing to comical and everywhere in between. “Both opinions and beliefs are typically said to be ‘about’ something, some aspect of real or imagined states of affairs, something that is true or false, or something about which we like or dislike,” said Teun A. van Dijk about opinions in his analysis paper titled “Opinions and Ideologies in Editorials.” Whether it be about feminism, the presidential election or if toast needs butter, everyone has some sort of opinion on something in their lives. Each opinion that one person holds is a result of both outside influences and inner attitudes. Opinions are a tricky subject though, because they are often held pretty close to our morals and basic beliefs of how life works.
Any discrepancies between opinions on the same topics often breed hostility. Perhaps the nature of opinions themselves is what causes these sometimes vile arguments, as our opinions are the products of our life experiences. As we live life, different truths become evident to us that may or may not be evident to others. Having experience in something makes us confident that we know all there is to know, thus our opinions must be the only sound ideas. However, we do not always know everything.
There is a fine line between being confident and being overbearing. While opinions are crucial to the development of any issue, it’s also important to remain open-minded. Everyone’s opinion differs and no two opinions are exactly the same as differing perceptions can make the slightest changes in an opinion quite evident. These differences are what provide interest when talking with others, when connecting ideas and brainstorming or debating, in an academic atmosphere or just for fun. It becomes apparent why opinions are so ingrained in us, but why should we have opinions, do they serve a purpose?
Ultimately we all want to be heard; we all want our thoughts and beliefs to match everyone else, we want to feel unified. Little else trumps the feeling of being understood, of agreement and peaceful accord. In order to achieve this, we use our opinions to persuade others to explain an issue from our perspective. If the person is open enough, we may even be able to change their attitude toward the subject, thus possibly changing their perspective.
“News articles that are written through the eyes of a mere observer, without a perspective or slant, can foster political disaffection among citizens,” said Minha Kim in an article in TechCrunch.
Having an opinion can persuade those citizens who are not heavily engaged to become more engaged and develop their own opinion.
Engagement is a valuable function of opinions. Opinions take conscious effort. They take thought processes and a willingness to learn. Opinions aren’t always positive things. Some opinions are developed with misinformation or otherwise untruthful ideas that end up distorting someone’s perspective of what is true. Although opinions can be formed by just mindlessly regurgitating what we’ve been told, real opinions take life experience and research, and that’s what makes them so unique. They give us a basis on which to live our life, to dictate how we conduct ourselves and the manner in which we approach others.
“Opinions are what make for good, in-depth discussions,” said Traci Hendrix, The Sentinel’s Opinion Editor, “They set us apart from band wagoners and allow us to share fresh, engaging perspectives with the people who welcome intelligent and invigorating conversation.”
Being ignorant to certain topics will lower the chances of ever getting into an argument and it will become easier to sail through life, yet being indifferent is the opposite of having an opinion. Indifference alludes to laziness and not thinking about what is going on. However, not having an opinion also takes effort. Since our attitudes, beliefs and values are so deeply ingrained in us, hearing something we disagree with can strike us and ignoring that pit in our stomach when we hear someone say something that is against what we believe can take work. There lies the importance of opinion, The function they serve is to get us more passionate about everything around us. Being opinionated is synonymous with having passion, a will to develop.
Opinions serve many purposes, whether it is to persuade, to provide interesting conversation, spark debates or promote clarity on a topic. All opinions are important, and no opinion is ever 100 percent truth to everyone.