A difference of opinion

Image thanks to Acepnow.com

I have been reading a book for a long time now, ‘The ant and the Peacock’ by Helena Cronin. For some reason I am reading it in Spanish, having picked it up at Barter Books and this could explain why it is taking me so long. Two pages a day is about all I can swallow but I am getting near the end.

One of the issues the book discusses is how individual species appear and indeed, how the different sexes have appeared during our long evolutionary path. To be frank, this is not something I had given too much thought to but it is starting to obsess my mind when it is not doing much else.

When wandering through my thoughts, a similar problem arose when I was thinking about how different people are, particularly in the way that they think. It doesn’t take too many visits to social media to realise how polarised opinions are these days. It is easy to explain how social media is making things worse but my question is why do people have different opinions in the first place. When you think about it, no two people agree with everyone else on everything. We have different preferences, tastes and political opinions. 

My question is how do these things happen and why? The conclusion I have come to is that it makes evolutionary sense to have different perspectives of problems and issues. For example, sometimes it makes sense to be aggressive, while at others it makes sense to be passive. Unfortunately it is the case that society can only flourish at times where there is aggression and vice versa. The same is true if you believe that humanity is a collection of individuals or a society. Sometimes it makes sense to be selfish and at others to be altruistic.

A group of people all with the same opinions and responses to issues would soon be wiped out. A group of pacificts would be easily wiped out by an aggressive tribe. A (loose) group of selfish people would find it hard to compete with a strong socially connected group. As humans have had to face a wide array of threats and pressures it is of huge evolutionary advantage to have a variety of thoughts to draw upon. The more opinions you have the more likely you have the right one.

In essence then, having different opinions is healthy, not only for the mind, but also for humanity. Even if you don’t agree with them then it makes sense to tolerate them, at least up to a point. The future of humanity depends upon these differences.

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