Forget Your Lines. What Do You Want to say?
It takes courage to step away from the crowd and voice your own opinion, but the reward is there if your voice is the one the world needs to hear.
By Sarah George /

When you were young, I know you had this argument with your peers: 

“My dad said…” 

“Well my dad said…”

“You’re all wrong, my dad said…” 

It could have been your mum, your grandparent, or any other authority figure that made the statement. But the common thread is that you didn’t know the topic for yourself, you just trusted whomever you were quoting and you angrily defended them -- perhaps to the point of tears.

Then you grew up, and you replaced your childhood authority figures with new ones. You chose a religion, a political party, or maybe just a group of friends who seemed to know what they were doing. And you started quoting their opinions as your own.

University tried to knock it out of you. It tried to teach you to question everything, to fact check, and to cross-reference. But it’s exhausting doing that in the real world -- so you picked a group of people who usually seem to represent your point-of-view, and you shortcut the process by deciding to agree with whatever conclusion they came up with. That’s why when a news story breaks, you have an opinion on it straightaway. You may not have your own opinion, but you have an opinion that has social currency and will advance your status in your group.

It’s too uncomfortable to have your own opinion, to put your name to something new. As soon as you’re an adult, free to make your mind up on your own, you seek out someone to tell you what to think again. It’s like when you opened up Google Earth for the first time -- you probably brought up photos of your own house, rather than of somewhere you’ve never been to. You feel safer with what you know, and having others tell you what you know.

This is why you get so angry when someone questions your opinion. If you’re honest, you probably don’t know the topic that well -- but your heart isn’t after the truth, it’s after a sense of belonging. You need to belong to your group. So while you don’t know for certain that your group is right, you hope that they are, because you rely on them for your sense of identity and security. You’re probably even afraid of the truth, because it could change the way you see your group -- and the idea that they may be wrong is as frightening as it was when other children questioned your dad.

The problem is, the world is a grim place, and the current contribution of religious, political and social groups is not enough to solve its problems at the rate that is needed. Did you ever consider that you are the missing link? Did you ever consider that in not seeking knowledge and sharing your own opinion, that the world is missing out on your good and intelligent contribution? Your voice isn’t changing anything by echoing someone else’s. 

The world needs you to find and use your own voice. It needs you to do what you didn’t do then, when a group of men, women, and children were bobbing up and down in a boat in the ocean.

When the government said, “The majority of asylum seekers are economic migrants,”

You said, “The government said, ‘The majority of asylum seekers are economic migrants.’”

You didn’t read the government records on asylum seekers arriving by boat, which revealed that the majority were refugees fleeing persecution. 

The government said one thing to you and another in the records because they knew you wouldn’t look there. And they turned the boat around and sent the group of men, women and children back to their country of persecution. 

The world needs you to do now what you didn’t do then. It needs you to have the confidence to pursue the truth over your own need to belong, and to be brave enough to speak up. You may find that your group is more tolerant than you thought, and that your diversity brings a richness that is valued. At some point in our lives, we all need to speak up and step out from under our parents, our mentors, and our groups. It’s only when our mouths aren’t full of other people’s words, that our eyes can truly see what is. And only then will we start to create solutions.

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 12,323 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 4,263 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
Mark Corske's Engines of Domination (2014)
60 min · 3,062 views today · Political power -- armed central authority, with states and war -- is it part of human nature? Is it necessary for human communities? Or is it a tool that ruling elites use to...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,844 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 2,635 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Gil Scott-Heron Deconstructs Colonialism and Black History in His Own Unique Style
3 min · 1,663 views today · His-Story: I was wondering about our yesterdays, and starting searching through the rubble and to say the very least, somebody went to a hell of a lot of trouble to make sure...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 1,579 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,343 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 1,073 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 1,030 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 950 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 816 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 550 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 533 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 489 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 484 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 371 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism
Chris Hedges · 272 views today · College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity—embodied in...
Are You Lost in the World Like Me?
3 min · 268 views today · Animated film by Steve Cutts for 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me?', taken from These Systems Are Failing- the debut album from Moby & The Void Pacific Choir. 
Eckhart Tolle: Your Facebook Ego, That's Not Who You Are
2 min · 255 views today · “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past: the "little me" and its story. This...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Forget Your Lines. What Do You Want to say?