Updated: Nov 30, 2020
By: Shambhavi Upendra Kulkarni
I was studying this lesson we had in 10th when I came across a quote by Steve Jobs that seemed to get stuck in my head. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Views, opinions, thoughts- they are truly odd concepts. We learn in economics that something is termed as ‘wealth’ when it is scarce in nature. But, if you look around, there is an abundance of opinions. They are infinite. And yet, they are as precious as wealth. Opinions and views are a result of your brain processing what you read, what you hear, what you see, what you feel, etc. Everyone has opinions, right? Then what makes them so important?
Malala Yousafzai, a known female activist who paved the way for countless women who were suppressed and denied the right to education. She could do this because she realised that whatever was happening around her was wrong and unjust. She had an opinion about the situation which led her to take action. Her thoughts and views slowly spread like wildfire, enlightening all those in the dark. Now imagine if she didn’t have any opinions about what was happening. Imagine if she had been neutral about everything. Then, we would not have realised the injustice and discrimination that was rooted so deeply in the minds of those men.
And yes, you will be swayed by many opinions, mocked and disregarded by many people and told to shut up. You know what to do with all that negativity and invalidation? Throw it out of your head just how you clear the trash by pulling the little lever in Among us (that game is really addicting, not gonna lie)
Having opinions is not enough. But it is a start. Realising what is right and what is wrong, fighting for the truth and not letting others sway you is what creates a good society. Humans have a beautifully complex mind. We have been blessed with the ability to think beyond our primal instincts. So why let that gift go to waste? Why must we live a life woven by someone else’s opinions and views. All brilliant revolutions, extraordinary riots, destruction of injustice and building towards a better world; all of it took its roots in one simple word-opinion. If we stay buried in the shadows of our tiny walls, not wanting to break through and speak up, then the world would turn into stagnant, murky water that would reek of death and darkness. In order for us to build a better tomorrow and have a flowing, crystal life that dances with the fragrance of life, then we must have opinions, have views, fight for what is right and not deter from the correct path. Truth is, having strong opinions isn’t easy. But it is necessary. We are a small speck in this cosmos and not very significant. But that didn’t stop all the great leaders from fighting for the right cause and it shouldn’t stop us either. Explore the world, learn, take in all that you can, listen to others, dig deep into those complicated webs of lies and deceit. And after you do that, think and decide what is right and what needs to be given a voice. And then, do it.
I asked some of my closest friends a question and here's what they said.
Q: Why is it important for YOU to have opinions and not just agree to what others say or do? Ans: When your favourite artist releases a song, you want to support them. So do millions of other fans. They all stream the song to get views. But, you also stream right? You don't sit idle thinking that the rest would manage. Everyone streaming is the same as everyone having opinions. Just because they have one doesn't mean you can't have one too. Ans:Opinions help you define yourself, it helps you to make a stand for yourself. Your opinions are like the outfits of your minds,the world judges you because of them and comments on them. But does that stop you from wearing your favourite outfit? No. The same goes for opinions.
You might wonder (or not) why the author (me) gave the article such a bizarre title. Well, you know how onions have layers? We human beings have them too. This is a well known metaphor, I know. But our mind is layered too. Every person we meet, every significant and insignificant event in our life leaves an imprint in our mind. Those imprints, emotions and thoughts and opinions all pile up on each other as time flits by and we are ultimately a result of all those layers. What we need to do is dive into ourselves and find the tiny voice that got buried under these layers. That voice is the core of the onion. It is our ultimate truth. It is the origin which creates our views, our ability to tell right from wrong and ultimately, our opinions. It is the very fabric of our being. So find it. I hope that the next time you see or cut an onion, at least one of you would be reminded to have an opinion and make it heard to the rest of the world. Ultimately, all I can do is hope, right?