As the world of social media and the internet takes over more and more of the way I gather information, I begin to observe more and more that I find myself struggling to have an opinion on things. My father was quite an opinionated person in that he always had a view on the government, politics and things that were happening in the world. Even as a teenager I remember listening to him and having a sinking feeling in my stomach that I really couldn't engage in a meaningful conversation with him. Perhaps some of it was due to him being a farmer and being surrounded by other very strong minded people. I just never seemed to develop an ability to talk about the sort of things that keep conversation lively, interesting, contemporary and challenging. My mind just wants to go blank and seems just unable to know what to say next.
I was catching up with something on Facebook the other day that had been circulating last year - as often happens I feel part of my being ambles on at a rather leisurely pace. I'm not going to expand on it here because it is all covered elsewhere on the web but it revolved around some Christians trying to break down some stereotypical assumptions of how they thought they were viewed by others. For example: "I'm a Christian but I am not homophobic". Great I thought. Then, as I delved deeper, I again realised how easy it is for people nowadays to come down on simple statements like a ton of bricks and either wholeheartedly support something or completely shred it to bits.
For my father, whatever opinions he had he could really think what he liked because there was freedom to do so without everyone else feeling they had a duty to chip in and say what they think too. Today it seems as though even simple comments can suddenly turn the media spotlight on someone and out comes a deluge of support or hate.
Perhaps I am getting old, but sometimes I don't even quite follow what it is that people are on about on the web or in the news. I wonder if the increasing speed of being able to present information is meaning it's clarity is being lost. I can't quite give an example but often it is related to the above - about what people say. I find myself thinking 'what was wrong with that...?'.
As I have an interest in art, perhaps that has become my coping mechanism. I am free to explore and express myself in ways that don't require a spoken explanation. My art frames the way I feel comfortable communicating. Perhaps I should recognise that more. I do though, get very frustrated at not doing deep and meaningful conversations... but then perhaps I haven't got the appropriate people around me with whom I would naturally build a rapport with or share like-minded interests with - like my father had.