Principle vs Opinion

You know, I’ve always been a little demanding.

It’s true. I remember having my first “Maybe we can’t be friends” in third grade cause he was agreeing with other third graders who were talking shit. I remember thinking it’s one thing if the shit being talked about was legitimate, but I remember thinking that it was just childish insults, and being like “Brah! How yoo gonna, gonna, LOYALTY BRAH.” And of course I bitched to my old man during one of those car rides and he was all “You seem to have expectations that others won’t always have. In this case you have a higher than normal expectation for loyalty.”

And I’m not saying I was right or wrong because in this case, that’s not the point. The fact that I was nutty enough, and my buddy cared enough to pass a back and forth “ANDRE DO YOO STILL WANT TO BE FWIENDS CIRCLE YES OR NO.” and he was all “yes.” and I was all “SOGOODWTF”

I get caught up on, bothered, and bugged by matters of principal more than specific happenings or reasons for them. I care more about understanding a person is driven by short-sighted character motivations rather than identifying what they are. I care more about understanding a person’s prime motivations – and these are the principles. If I wasn’t careful I’d probably be one of those assholes who’d get red in the face and be all *SPUTSPUT**PRINCPLESLES*

And I have to think about this because often, people find themselves stepping on mine without even realizing it.  When I’m bothered by a principle that lead to an issue and people just wanna tell me to feel good I do generally suppress a knee-jerk “DONT PATRONIZE ME YOU STUPID FUCK” before calmly deciding that the person advising me is an idiot/doesn’t care about the principle and should be regarded with respect to that. And that’s not always true. It is the case that I’m capable of being hyperfocused on something small and petty, and have to weigh my battles, and whether or not it’s the time or place or appropriate moment for a disposition.

But I think about it, and I see this sort of conflict happen all the time.  Unless dying, I refuse to drink Fiji water out of principle. (That shit is flown across half the globe on diesel fuel so duane reade can charge you a patronizing premium on top of a premium so you can feel like you’re a superior consumer for drinking retarded water that’s actually bad for the planet and I’m not even an environmentalist. P.S. Fuck you.) And I like to share mine with others – I’m not enforcing it, but I support my own principles by being open about them and thinking maybe one or two others will adopt.  Here’s what I got in return today though:
“But Fiji water is the best!”

Opinion.  It can be an extension of principle, but it’s usually the package that something so unprincipled and unthinking comes in, isn’t it? Isn’t that the difference between my cat’s response and a human’s deeper response? We can deduce an opinion by reflecting on principals, while a cat’ll sheerly get subjective appraisal from it’s senses.  That’s why you can’t convince a cat to be a vegetarian by appealing with ideology.  “Oh, don’t eat that mouse when you can eat murder-free dry food.”  The cat doesn’t care. In the cat’s opinion, killing mice is just the way it should be.

So you know, I feel like a better human for realizing deeper reasons for things like, “Patronizing structures that’re actually undermining viable economic conditions” (dear broke people, stop buying 300 dollar shoes 15 dollar drinks) rather than “I don’t like air jordans.”  But that’s just me.

And then you get into that ethics vs morality thing. And religious principle? And again, there’s that famous story of the preacher who started to realize his friend was a sinner (principled argument) and cut him off. Then he realized his preacher was a sinner and cut him off. Then he realized his whole church was full of sin and cut them off. Then his wife.  And yes, he totally died as a lonely psychopathic fuck in the woods. And how many well principled people can we think of who’re having real problems of disconnect?

Nah, I think there need to be principles about principled. Meta-principles. And we need to agree with them. Basic human rights becomes a thing here. Basic decency. Basic cutesy. Basic reciprocity. These are basic because they guide all interaction that follows. They preclude more pervasive, nasty principles like “Oppress others with your beliefs.”

I think that’s the the game I need to always remind myself to wire right. Because here’s the pro of principle as I see:

If we start being cat-thinkers, we may as well be half drunk and half stoned all the time. And actually we live in a huge planet where maybe that’s groovy!  But the problems comes into play when we start bowing to undermining principle – that which’ll step on the right of things to stay reasonable.  When we start being self-obsessed beasts, we’re most manipulable and capable of doing horrible things.  All you have to do is threaten one’s well-being and boom, they’ll do anything because they have no residual principle to fall back on.  Face it! This’s what gave socrates the courage to famously drink poison.  The wrong principles is what’ve let horrible military regimes do wrong things. The right principles (or at least the most outstanding ones) are where my balls in life come from. This’s how I know confidence in what I say, and principle is how I can detach from any situation where I may have pride and ego get in the way. Principle is how I can humble my actions and see how maybe I’ve been wrong and can be listen. Principle is what BYPASSes that self-concerned bestial programming, and what makes me better as I get older.  The righter principles stand out harder.

So, with that said I have some weird-ass principles. Sure.  I have some special experiences that’ve shaped my beliefs in certain ways that . . . I’m just not cool with certain forms of patronization.  (That isn’t to say that you can’t be yourself, just don’t encourage me to feel good about principled failings.) But sometimes . . . I see a response to a principled argument that’s outright twisted opinion!

And.  .. yeah, I don’t think I’m wrong to lose respect for that person as a person.  I start to see that you should treat them more like a really smart animal if they can’t get the reasoning behind an argument and follow through.  This may even be a little embittering, but I think it’s correct. That’s what some really smart adults are proving to me anyway . . . it makes for less contention, and let’s you move onto bigger and better things faster. Namely, your principles.

So yeah. I know how silly it sounds. I know I can be made out to be a fool sometimes and shove my own foot in my mouth, but every time I have an eloquent thought, it’s really just something coming from a place of principle and that’s why it’s articulated that way. I know I should be careful, I know I shouldn’t expect everyone’s belief systems and ethos to match mine . . .but the way I see it, refining, revising, evaluating, and considering one’s principles is ALWAYS the #1 path towards personal evolution. And weighing others, seeing where they come from, that’s where this leads to a power.

The point of this entire rant is, don’t be a stupid fuck who squabbles opinion. Or oppresses with opinion. Or is just loud about your opinion any time you have a chance to make one, and have no qualms with how unthinking and arbitrary it is because you have the power to be loud.  (Don’t these gaggles recognize that they lead to gossip because their own thinking is uninteresting and unstimulating? The following is a great paraphrase for all discussions / solicitations for validating feedback of opinion:  “Squawk. Squawk.”)

Anyway, this entire diatribe is a weak-ass attempt to expose that that lack of principle = human shortcoming. Any time there is contention or conflict, consider taking a step back and recognizing the principle – the driving cognition that frames all following attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, ideas and phrases – and debate (see: not argue) that.  That’s a discussion worth having about anything, from fucking bubble gum, to war regimes, to cosmic stars.

Anything else may be discussion that’s falling short of a good conversation and talk.

~The Best


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