Friday, December 12, 2008

Young and Impressionable

Am I? Young and impressionable, that is.

I've noticed lately that I tend to agree with most of the things I hear or read. I don't mean in an "I'll smile and nod even though I think you're flat-out wrong because it's not worth contradicting you" way, but rather in honest agreement. A perplexing discovery, to be certain, and this realization made me wonder about my own opinions and my own "influentialibility."

I've got a few options to pick from to try to explain this.
  • I'm surrounded largely by peers. I also tend to gravitate towards people I have a lot in common with. It only follows that we would share many of the same beliefs.
  • For my age and experience level, I consider myself quite educated and well-read. I've been exposed to a lot of things, and I've formulated a worldview based on this background. This isn't to say that I'm "right," but maybe there is something to the "educated majority opinion."
  • The literature I read and the lectures I hear come from authors, professors, and role models I respect. Their viewpoints carry the weight of authority, so I am very inclined to consider them correct.
  • Other people are persuasive. They word things so well that I'm often convinced that they're right.
  • I'm foolish and fickle, and I'll obediently accept anything I'm told without even realizing I'm doing it.
More likely than not, it's a combination of all of these and other factors, besides. I certainly hope that the last option doesn't contribute too much. To give myself a little credit, though, I never blindly accept a fact or belief without first considering its implications and whether or not it is reasonable. I try to be quite discerning in what I believe, while at the same time keeping an open mind and always being willing to change my opinion if presented with sufficient evidence to the contrary.

Another observation--I tend to subconsciously pick up on the language that people use around me, and start to mimic it and use it as my own. Of course, I think we all do this. It's probably the exact same phenomenon as picking up an accent when traveling in a foreign country. Humans, like parrots, are excellent imitators. It's kind of funny, really, particularly after I've read some Dickens or similar work with elevated diction. I'll get a few strange looks. Or when a friend catches me using a phrase they consider their own--sorry! It's really not intentional; consider it flattery.

I don't really have a point to this post--just some rambling and end-of-semester-stressed-about-finals introspection.

(cartoon only slightly related, but I enjoyed it immensely)

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