Ever wonder where your opinions come from?

Jonathan Safran Foer, a pretty famous author, just published Eating Animals, a whole book about his becoming vegetarian in a time where nobody wants to hear about it at all (even me). Can you imagine trying to change someone’s mind like this?

Opinions are often smart, but what’s interesting to me is when opinions are where we just stopped thinking. We were heading in a direction, our thoughts were getting more complex about a subject. Then we got kind of lazy. An opinion was formed, which hasn’t changed since.

Some of our opinions need to be changed radically, but challenges make us defensive, which in turn makes us close up and avoid opposing viewpoints altogether. Those whole opinions are challenged need to have it happen subversively, or not at all. This is why change often has to come from the inside a circle of trust.

But getting inside the circle changes us. Lawyers who “try to change the system from the inside” (cue movie trailer music) often become changed themselves. They’ve invested so much into it that they can’t help but have their opinion be transformed by their experiences. To whom do they owe their allegiances– their past self, or their current one?

As we get more successful in this space, we’ll get closer and closer to traditional business. We should be careful we don’t entirely lose our ability to be radical. Since it’s what makes us interesting and valuable to old world, it may be one differentiator we should really be holding onto.





4 responses to “Opinions”

  1. Dara Bell Avatar

    Supermarker Chat

    This is an idea I have mulled over for years how close to you get to big business. It was only three year ago at Univesity I was attening anti-captitalist marches, visiting Genoa and now I shop at Tesco and bought something from Walmart the other day.

    The web will force into contact with big business and we will have to make some snap decisions as how to engage, perhaps as you suggest as a Trust Agent. We can makw our own decisons sa to bring a reuasbeble bag you know consumer decisions that are vote with you wallet.

    I spent time with Anita Roddick some years ago also and she sad employ gypies, employ immigants employ the unempoyable. She was big business after a time too. The limits as to what is possible is personal ot political.

  2. John McLachlan Avatar

    Like reading blog post after blog post of people regurgitating the same stuff (hey, I’m guilty) which is why I like your posts so much, Julien. You actually say something different and introduce other points of view that are not the norm.

    I think I know who made Trust Agents different from all the rest of the books out there by adding heart and soul. Thanks for that.

  3. Serge Lachapelle Avatar

    Were you talking about religion here? Oh! Opinion!…Sory, I missed the title…

    The day we stopped thinking…interesting thought in deed…but why think really. Its getting so hard to integrate thought in our society, its like pushing water up hill…every thing is already set…

    Its set-up so the thinkers get tired and quit…That’s why when we see one stick his neck out, we take notice and start placing bets on how long before the crowd cuts off this annoying aberation…

    Chop! Chop!…Head rolls…then we all go back to sleep…Zzzzzzz….

  4. Dave Doolin Avatar

    Change from inside…

    The earliest reference I have for such is the Jesuits in Peking in the 1500s attempting to defend themselves (again) from Papal charges of casuistry, a consequence of their “boring from within” policy.

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