The only opinion I have is not to have an opinion. Opinions are based on judgments, and judgments are false. I realize that in this realization I have made a judgment on humanity as an entirety...
We were born to analyze as a survival instinct that will eventually spell our doom.
You can command armies, countries, or individuals... But nothing makes you feel as powerful as when you conquer and become in control of yourself.
When you learn that people cannot be defined or labeled. We are too complex and there are too many variables.
I do sometimes believe that judgments are fair to make on someone that you know very well, however even in those circumstances there are many factors and experiences that you are not aware of that shape their decisions, and that person that they are around you may not be the person they see themselves as, or with others.
I was given two examples this weekend of scenarios that could be easily judged, but prove to be harmless upon close examination.
The first was an article I read in a newspaper at Starbucks. There was a lashing out over a french lingerie line marketed for 4-12 year olds. At first I thought, what the hell? But then I thought, what is it about this that I find unsettling? I actually read the article, and saw that in France, this isn't a big deal. It's outside of Europe that takes issue. I also read the owner saying, "These pieces are not transparent, there's no lace, and no bras in my collection. They are professional models." Then I realized that what people took issue with was the marketing for the items. The pictures the company took of the little girls in adult-like poses, with overly made up hair and faces. So, the issue isn't with the company, or with the "lingerie" itself. It was with the photos.
Then I realized I couldn't judge this article fairly, because my issue wasn't with them, it was with the photographer and the editor of the shoot. Then I also realized that the intent was to sell the product to potential clients, not to "play up pedophiliac fantasies". And my golden rule is when the intent is not there, poor judgment cannot be placed. Once you take something out of context and re-define the meaning of what you're judging, it becomes something else entirely. How is that fair?
I also thought of my own modeling, and how a lot of my pictures can seem sexual but to me, my intent was to produce something unique and artistic and creative. If people took it as sexual, that wasn't my fault because it wasn't my intention. That was their own judgment call.
The issue was that the pictures were there to be accessible to pedophiles. However, if someone gets turned on by the thought of beastiality, should that mean all photos of animals showing affection should be banned? It's in the eye of the beholder, what we find pleasing or arousing. Someone will find something arousing regardless of what it is, or what it's intent is.
It is not up to us to deem something inappropriate, unless we see it in an inappropriate way... And if that is the case then it is not the pictures that are the problem, it is the viewer.
The second example comes from my friend Rob, who just returned from Italy. He said it was a custom there for adults to bring their children to the bars with them. Here, because of how our night live plays out, that would be completely unacceptable and taboo. However, there alcohol isn't a big deal. People don't binge drink, don't act foolish like we do every single week. Instead of looking at these factors, most just judge the outside fact of "bringing children to bars" as wrong. They ignore the whole picture.
What if everything you ever judge is viewed that way? If you take one step back, you can have a neutral take on something? Think about how much more open your world could potentially be, if we let go of these judgments and just lived our own lives.
Every action someone takes, every word they say, has a subconscious reason. A meaning. And someone once told me to take things at face value. You can't over analyze everything, because some things are just that simple.
Just let it go.