Being objective is not as easy as it sounds. Webster defines objective as being without bias. Sounds easy, right? Know both sides, present both sides–there, you’re objective. But that’s not the full of it. To be without bias, you have to have absolutely no opinion, and to have no opinion you have to not know all about the subject. Now it’s more complicated! So all those “objective” articles, made by one person, are either not actually objective or don’t really know what they’re talking about. So it turns out that it’s nearly impossible to find something you’re objective to.
I’ve been studying government for school this year, and Richard J. Maybury, writer of Are You Liberal Conservative Or Confuse? (If you’re interested in reading it, click here.) puts it this way, “…this presentation will not be objective. Let me explain. Suppose you were accused of a crime. And, suppose that during your trial you are not allowed to have a defense attorney, just a prosecuting attorney who promises to do a good job of presenting both sides of the story in an unbiased fashion. Would you feel you were getting a fair trial? Would the judge and jury be able to discover the truth?” Claiming to be objective can look appealing. It says to us, “I will save you time and give you top quality information!”. But really, it just leaves us wondering whether we missed something. If you want both sides, find another source with an opposite opinion. A lot of writers think being objective is professional, but I say, if they ask, let them know what you think!
It’s not a bad thing to have an opinion. It’s not worth it to try and appear as though you don’t have one. There is a right time and a right place to spill out your opinions, obviously, but if you are always trying not to have an opinion, what will you be? We have to know what we believe and why or we have nothing.
On a somewhat different topic, I love debating with people in a casual setting, mostly about things that don’t matter, like whether a mug can be called a cup as well (Thoughts? I say it can!). I wonder whether it might partially be my personality type. I’m not offended when someone disagrees. I do, however, want to learn why they disagree and question them. It’s fascinating to me how someone else thinks. Maybe you think a mug is only a mug because cups look entirely different–that’s interesting. However, I disagree because I think ‘mugs’ are a subcategory of ‘cups’. I could build a whole new blog post of why I think this, but what does it really matter? Why do I enjoy something so pointless? Because it’s deeper than the top layer of cups and mugs; I’m learning about you; I’m debating, and I’m probably just having fun turning you around in circles.
Having an opinion is necessary, and having an opinion can just be fun. And for either kind, you’ll find it’s simpler with one than without one.