It’s OK to not have an opinion on everything

In the wired world, it is just so easy to upload an opinion. All it takes is one idle thought.
Representational image.
Representational image.

In the wired world, it is just so easy to upload an opinion. All it takes is one idle thought. Forget the economy of words—having an opinion on everything is like a growing fungus these days. On why has Virat Kohli actually quit the Test Series captaincy, or has Katrina Kaif married Vicky Kaushal on the rebound, or did Lord Krishna really manifest himself in Akhilesh Singh Yadav’s reverie? People tend to have a point of view on every mole and maverick, as if harbouring one is a sign of being erudite, mentally agile.

Most of the time people don’t even chew on what they are saying, leave alone research the topic, before charging ahead like a moronic bull into a string of verbal invectives. I feel a spontaneous reaction to many issues does more damage than good. Like the telly shriek-fests in the name of a debate are a sheer waste of precious air-time and more precious viewer intelligence. Moderating a banshee breakout is the easiest way to trim production costs, with the “Join the conversation” ticker streaking across the screen. You’re entitled to your own opinion, not facts. At moments such as these, I am reminded of the Kafkaesque gem—“opinions are often only an expression of despair”.

This is why I feel it is not necessary to have an opinion on everything: from gender fluidity to the Syrian crisis to Brexit and why Priyanka Chopra pronounces Mumbai as “Mumbaai-city” in her manufactured interview. But there is an unjustified stigma associated with not having an opinion. I think it calls for plenty of mental discipline—not to have a subjective posture towards everything. You may choose not to have a perspective on something, because you don’t want to. That’s reason enough. You might not have the time or inclination to read up on the issue or gossip swirl or a Twitter king or queen’s diarrhoea, and fathom the context to be able to comment judiciously or participate in a dharna at Azad Maidan. Perhaps you are busy working and have fees to pay and families to look after (Have an opinion on such lives, eh? Which one of their bills would you be paying this month, sir/madam?)

As educated thinking adults, we aren’t required to expend our grey matter on the inconsequential (Even though there are a truck load of cultivated influencers making a killing doing the same!) It is a question of picking battles that matter, and conserving energy, rather than frittering away too much time on the less-important. It doesn’t matter if yellow or black dal is cooked for dinner. It isn’t such a crisis, is it? There is a fine line between being apathetic, and overtly involved in a social messiah mode. You have the power to choose not to have an opinion. It is all about revising the focal points in our life, as we surge through the pandemic, without getting judgmental.

I know. I don’t stand a chance to win the Ms Congeniality title as I practise this dynamic. But honestly folks, be more than just your opinion.

Call it self-worth, rebooted.

Shilpi Madan

Mumbai-based journalist and editor

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