Always respect others' opinions. Always. That's the right thing to do. Because everyone has the right to an opinion, even if that opinion is stupid. I've heard this many times over the year and have been a little dubious, so thought I'd test it out. So I tried living by the mantra of always respecting others' opinions. Tried it all day today.
On the way to the station two charity people came up to me at once, which is a strange thing as they usually take turns. Both charity people had the opinion that I should give my money to their charity but the problem in this situation is that I only have enough money on me for one of them. So what to do? Respecting both of their opinions here was impossible, literally. My suggestion was that they both fight each other, and the one who loses has to change their opinion to "not wanting money" so that therefore I could respect both their opinions simultaneously. They walked off.
Later I was sitting next to a few people on the train, two of them speaking to each other in a non-English language. At the next stop a couple of middle aged Australian women got on the train, and had a certain air about them that reeked of entitlement. The two woman looked at the other two who were speaking the non-English language and gave them a really dirty look, then started talking to each other loudly about how this place isn't really Australian anymore and that people who come over here on boats should behave according to their rules. Ridiculous of course, and my immediate thought was of telling them that they were terrible bigots, but then I remembered that I had to respect everyone's opinion today. Tough one.
Later in the day I was thinking about a particularly difficult situation at work, which had many complexities and moving parts. I was having trouble deciding if doing this thing was good or not, and kept going back and forth between yes and no. Ah, this is interesting, because at the moment my opinion keeps changing. If there was someone else who had to always respect my opinion, in this situation they'd have to keep changing their opinion with mine. And I wasn't even talking so unless they had really good mind-reading skills (which they wouldn't as that's not real), they wouldn't even know what my opinion was in the fleeting moment before it changed. Respecting opinions, this is just getting harder.
So always respecting others' opinions seems to result in the benefit of getting rid of charity people on the street, but the drawback of having to support racism. And as much as it's a little annoying dealing with charity people on the street, being a racist is a lifestyle choice and requires commitment to being a complete idiot. But in any case both of these scenarios are strongly overriden by the fact that respecting everyone's opinions is impossible, so it's probably not worth bothering to try. Probably better off just trying to be a good person.
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