Opinions are usually heavily researched, either subjectively through periods of intense mental argumentation, or objectively through factual analysis and synthesis. The strongest opinions overlay the rhetorical benefits of subjective interrogation with the fact-based firmament that comes from external research.
The current climate, editorially speaking, is one of equivocation and intimidation. The reality of unlimited information fosters doubt, and the mind has become enfeebled due to the threat of a speedy, web-based debunking. Our subjective, internal argumentation atrophies at the paralytic impossibility of researching everything we think necessary to articulate an opinion. Since we stand to be objectively proven wrong at every step, we choose to inhabit a vague, non-committal space where we feel a sort of fleeting safety, but nonetheless remain in uncomfortable flux as our passion dwindles into a state of privation. The opinions we choose to half-have are scared attempts to hedge our egotistical, intellectual bets, spreading our minds out like a thousand hands, hoping that if one is severed our compensatory, enervate body of opinions will rescue us from the harsh, combative reality of argument. We spread ourselves so thin so that saving face becomes synonymous with no longer having one; instead, we operate in as meek frontiersman, happy if our wisps of novelty inch into untrammeled land but liable to retreat into frantic brand-salvaging at the sight of something truly wild.
The stale dictum about more power and more responsibility dissipates in the face of infinite knowledge, becoming incommensurate in degrees when facing a world-wide-web of degreelessness. Ironically (and somewhat cruelly), the Internet’s infinite knowledge highlights the impossibility of human omniscience. The dearth of persuasive opinions stems not from their lack of objective accrual but of subjective conviction, and although this statement sounds as if it may further empower the prevailing movements, whose opinions are expressly allergic to facts, it is meant to clarify a 21st-century paradox. The limited mind’s access to unlimited information extends the wide net metaphor into an incessant, exhausting exploration of everything, collecting in a commitment to nothing.
The claim that “I don’t know enough” to have an opinion may sometimes be true, but that logical end has morphed into an illogical fear and deterioration of articulation. The nervous, verbal backpedaling infecting expression stems from the frazzled mind’s confrontation with the Internet, and the lack of editorial commitment comes from quashed passion that engenders a powerlessness akin to human confrontation with the sublime. Although the Internet, in its simplest denomination, creates opportunity to build a reasonable foundation, and then workshop a subjective argumentation out of it, we are simply lost in the intimidating myopia and become dismayed at our lack of scope. Loosing ourselves from the tantalizing paradox of informational infinity and committing to subjective specificity, rhetorical novelty and layered opinion may be the only means of escaping captivity. This fleeing inward can restore the confidence necessary to stir our torpor, and enliven expression and argument, which ultimately is the key to a successful democracy.
At some point, we must reject the fish the Internet feeds us and teach ourselves to rigorously test and refute opinions using dense, subjective metrics. The restorative way back from our lurching and feeble opinions is through a personal rearmament that comes from the inside rather than outside. This call to passion is not a call to internal demagoguery but a reignition of desire, that oft-suppressed spark of the creative that kneads our nuanced thoughts into verbal flourish. As it stands, we articulate a million semi-sweet nothings, to no avail. Our opinions are not subtle, they are timid, yet a re-commitment to ourselves and our mind can change that. As Napoleon is thought to have said, “from the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step; let the future generations decide.” Engage with subjectivity and passion, bolster their intrinsic treasures with fact, then decide, decide.