Pick A Side, Maintain Your Convictions, Put Up a Good Fight, and, Above All Else, Admit Defeat; The Importance of Not Taking Things Too Seriously, With Help from the Anonymity of the Internet

At the heart of every non-confrontational form of communication lies the ever present concept of anonymity. Certain emotions may seem obvious to convey, regardless of the medium, but the fact remains that, even when conversations happen with both parties directly speaking to one another, and every aspect of their language is made clear, details can still be misconstrued. It’s how comedians manage to make so many jokes about men and women, their differences, and the explosive danger of not listening to one’s significant other, and it’s how politicians manage to make even the most basic greetings devolve into an all out media war.

Despite this truth, however, it goes without saying that anonymity allows many otherwise “Quiet” individuals to speak out, and speak up, about topics that they might not be able to discuss if their identity were made public. At the same time, this unknown quality also allows many to take advantage of the security of their true identity by acting out, and against, those around them; the colloquial “No one knows if you’re a dog on the internet” metaphor can be extended further, with many, otherwise silent individuals accepting a new persona with their “Bark” and “Bite” gaining equal intensity.

I use the term persona, because anonymity allows us the advantage of being whomever we choose to be, whether these identities support Obama, Harper, Chavez, Jehovah, Zenu, Racial Insensitivity or Racial Equality, and the internet, as the most prevalent form of non-confrontational communication continues to grow due to the power of anonymity, for better or worse. Of course, I use the term non-confrontational in much the same way that a pacifist who engages in verbal arguments defines their position on physical violence; certainly, the internet fosters, and seems to feed on, confrontation, but the truth is that, excluding certain exceptional cases, we rarely see our online opponents in the so-called “Real World.”

In many ways, this is a positive aspect, since much of what is said online is done as a form of absurd extremism to cultivate attention to an issue that the commentator feels is important and worthy of such attention. Though, in other ways, this also means that a significant amount of what is said online bears little value or meaning to those who said it, and to those who it was said to. Even worse, this also means that, to a select few people, topics that seem otherwise important, become nothing more than meaningless drivel spouted as a means to an end.

However, I digress since anonymity has little to do with the overall thesis of this article, instead my issue lies with conviction and maintaining these convictions. In essence, my overall point is relatively straightforward: pick a side, find arguments that support your beliefs, produce these arguments in a manner that doesn’t involve insulting your opponent, and accept that, if your opponent produces better arguments that seem more logical and more acceptable than yours, you might have been wrong anyway. It’s not a matter of arguing against a fundamentalist about the creation of the universe, or arguing with an animal activist about the aspects of the economy that would suffer if animals were given equal rights as humans, or even discussing the possibility of Hamlet hallucinating his entire ordeal – it’s a matter of picking a side, believing in that decision, and standing by that decision until such a time that a singularity occurs that changes one’s mind.

I do recognize my literary redundancy (after all, I’ve already written two articles on giving up – one that’s all for it, and one that’s against it), but it’s a matter of enough importance that it warrants further incidence. This nihilistic belief that it’s pointless to argue for fear of validating the argument’s topic is elementary and against the very nature of opinion – specifically, that any one individual is allowed, and often encouraged, to have an idea or thought that is contrary to another.

Furthermore, the opinion that both sides can coexist is far more insulting than mediating. The arbitrator that believes both sides of an argument can happily coexist insults both sides equally, especially when both parties have dedicated their minds to an opinion that they feel comfortable with (assuming that they aren’t arguing for the sake of arguing, and that they genuinely believe in the side they have positioned themselves on).

Once again, I recognize that history repeatedly shows that two conflicting sides will almost definitely prove to be incapable of maintaining a non-violent approach to conflicting opinions, which is why mediation and arbitration is more than necessary when dealing with large-scale conflict that escalates far beyond the control of the original parties. Moving forward, I also recognize that it’s even more difficult for a party to accept that they’re wrong in a matter, and my opinions on fanaticism remain stagnant (it’s a troublesome byproduct of maintaining a single point-of-view on an opinionated duality), which is why the most important aspect of picking a side is accepting that possibility that one might be wrong in their decision.

Granted, when discussing topics that can neither be proven or disproved, it’s best to maintain a proverbial “Open mind.” Ultimately, however, this is a trivial point since, given the lack of violent escalation, and given that there isn’t an absolute right or wrong, an argument can continue indefinitely, so long as both parties firmly maintain their convictions. That’s really all it comes down to. Well, that and not believing in something strongly enough to become violent.

After all, not everything needs to be taken so seriously.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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