Nothing is fixed in this universe.
Even the universe’s laws are nothing but a perception of mankind, an attempt to understand what they do and what they mean to us. Gravity, one can argue is a universally accepted attempt to understand that something, which pulls us towards this earth. If someday we were to understand something more about this concept through proper exploration, reason, logic and all those ‘science’y stuff, it is possible that its definition might as well change. But there is one thing that would be pivotal for this change. A universal consent to the new definition. One man may prove any theory, idea, belief or whatever name humanity has ever cropped up for any intangible concept. But for it to have any gravity (Pardon the pun!), it needs to be accepted. Even if not universally but must be accepted by a majority. Otherwise it will just be another person speaking too much.
Speaking of laws, one can argue that legal systems (of democratic countries) are based on the same premise. I might not be a law student but one does not need an IQ of Mr Garry Kasparov to understand that any bill or legislature passed in the parliament is not and ideally should not be passed by the whims and fancies of one person.
What I am basically trying to say and why I have put forward seemingly unimportant links of how laws are made and why universal acceptance is necessary here is that – saying ‘Its my choice‘ is a very poor way of arguing about things. We know its one’s choice by default, what we further need is for one to justify their choice. This form of argument is absurd and comes right under the belly of a similar line of argument, The “that’s my opinion argument”. For simplicity’s sake lets call it the brother argument. And one cannot simply end an argument at that. Just can’t.
Why is it not enough to end and argument saying that it’s one’s choice?
Simply because ‘its my choice’ can be extrapolated into an infinite regress. Meaning? Look at these for instance –
- I’d like to go and do pee pee in the swimming pool? Go ahead it’s your choice
- I’d like to go run naked in the streets? Of course go ahead it’s your choice.
- I’d like to pick my nose put the dirt on my food and eat it while everyone else is on the same table? Oh why not?
There can be an infinitely long list of such statements, most of which will put us inside a permanent loop of arguments. We would end up repeating things, going in circles and ending sentences with the term ‘its my choice’. This undermines the seriousness of any argument by notches, no matter of how much social, political, economic and what not importance they are of. I will come back to these examples later. Let’s talk about the brother argument for a moment, because it too comes in handy while explaining the “Sin of Choice”.
The Opinion Endgame : It’s a finishing statement to any argument, but only if one is failing to justify one’s stance or just doesn’t want to admit that the other person is right. So here’s the problem with the opinion endgame :
Whenever anyone places an argument in front of another, it is by default implied that it’s that person’s opinion. Repeating the same isn’t going to do squat. The reason one puts forward their opinion is because they want it to be acknowledged. Saying – “Look that’s just your opinion and this is mine” is like calling water wet. Yes it’s that obvious and redundant. After putting forward an argument it is the moral obligation of an individual to, up to their best abilities, try and explain why is what they think is. Yes one cannot hope to change their intellectual rivals’ perspective in one go. But one can always agree to disagree, but with promise of having this conversation again with perhaps a better set of vocabulary and a better understanding of their ideas themselves.
Slowly, if the right questions are asked and the right answers are given, one side of two really contradictory arguments is bound gain more weight. But this is possible only if both sides are true and honest to themselves. If not, otherwise too one can achieve the same result, it will only take longer and require a little breaking of the other person’s ego. Politely of course (*wink wink*). The fact is, it might take time but reality will prevail. And taking the help of the ‘opinion statement’ is like being an ostrich hiding his head in the sand. With no real outcome coming from a situation even after a heated discussion.
Coming to the primary argument and what relation the brother argument holds with it. The point is, once a person is able to substantially justify their belief, they can then have the much coveted universal acceptation. Which can then be used to make laws and/or make implicit or explicit social contracts. A mass acceptance is always needed for anything to have any viability, and for which one must know and truly believe in their idea. Then only one can influence others. That would require religious and Insightful thinking. For example one cannot simply propose feminist agendas and then when having a verbal fight with a brother or a boyfriend say, “You do not know how to talk to a girl”, which again is a foolish end argument. We need to really think things through.
So then what about freedom of choice? Is it really just a mythical propaganda? The innate debater and the feminist in me is shouting and tearing me apart in two sides saying, So what of the women then? Don’t they deserve to make their own life choices? Don’t they deserve an equal footing? They aren’t really harming anyone! Err… the other side starts ringing and smirks, harming anyone? Well I am not harming anyone when I am picking my nose in front of everyone and eating it with my food? (Sorry! couldn’t think of a less disgusting analogy).
But still, doing that would go against the prevalent social convention won’t it? No matter how much I prove that my nose dirt has no bacterial threat to my life whatsoever, it will still be considered disgusting and looked down upon. Now, do keep in mind that I am not comparing nose dirt to woman’s rights. All I am trying to show here is the adverse effects of the ‘it’s my choice” statement, and how it can be abused, whereby making the real point of equality and equal opportunities get lost in oblivion.
What needs to be done is a carefully designed portrayal of how woman in our country are loosing out on things because there isn’t equal opportunity.
For example instead of saying, “It’s my choice to wear miniskirts in public”, which can be snubbed by the rhetoric statement, “it’s my choice to jump naked in public swimming pools”, what one needs to do is justify that it is about time that miniskirts be accepted as a casual choice of fashion, because the society has matured enough, to not be offended by its visual. We can point out how a major section of women would like to wear them (and perhaps do a survey on how many other middle class women would actually wear them if not looked down upon) and how due to the close mindedness of the minority the freedom of this relatively new style of fashion is being snubbed. I might have not done any survey myself, but I know for a fact that my mother does not wear denims and T-shirts at home where my grandparents stay, but she sure did wear them when she went for a trip abroad. I understand that saying all this, using all this lingo talking about survey’s and other things all the time seems impractical and perhaps even too technical. Using the choice statement certainly makes things easier. But that’s the thing about communication isn’t it? Things easily said are easily misinterpreted.
So next time when someone says its’s my opinion, be a true internet binge personality and show them this cat.