On Being Different…

The other day, someone told me that I was an idiot, a fool that no one likes or listens to.

I just laughed. I just happened to disagree with what he was saying. Yes, he felt very strongly about the topic, one that I don’t really give a damn about. He was looking for agreement with what he believed, partly because, from what I could gather, someone else had attacked him of his belief. So, I was classed as being part of the great masses that were totally against his side of the argument.

It makes no difference who was right and who was wrong. It’s a matter of opinion, and neither side can be absolutely certain on what the interpretation of the facts. There is always room for disagreement. But, more importantly, neither side can really make that much of a difference, at least in the short term.

A song passed through my mind. The Beatle’s “The Fool On The Hill” and its chorus:

“The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around…”

Or… I could have quoted Wittgenstein: “I act with complete certainty. But this certainty is my own.” With the addendum “And your certainty is your own”.

We make a big thing out of differences, like two distinct opinions. But the differences are what make us interesting.

Would he have been happier if I had agreed with him? Probably.

It would have meant that he had someone on his side of the argument (if one can call it that). He would not be alone with his view of things. But it’s through differences that we can see ourselves as individuals. It’s what distinguishes each of us from all those other people out there. Differences don’t lessen us, but make us better than we could have been.

It’s okay to agree with others, if you really agree. And it’s okay not to cause confrontations that lead to making out that one group (race, religion, language, whatever) is superior to another.

But celebrate your differences from, and celebrate your similarities to, others. Cheer on the differences and make use of the similarities.

Be the fool on the hill — see things for what they are!

And never let anyone ruin your own uniqueness!

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