This article is about introducing your well thought-out opinion which may oppose one-sided group discourse you deem dangerous.
Popular, one-sided ideologies seem to inevitably devolve into arming vocal, opportunistic minorities with mighty speaker phones and deafening earmuffs.
The silencing forces those who disagree with popular ideas feel don’t remain stagnant. By the time a popular idea carves out a narrow ridge of closed-mindedness, even previously sensible stances can be labeled malicious.
With communication becoming more seamless, unpredictable trends pop up surrounding our communication processes. One such trend is the capacity for online communities to create echo-chambers by attracting loyal subscribers of the same ideologies, rejecting anyone who raises counterpoints, and escalating their own talking points to levels deemed dangerous from an objective outside perspective.
A popular idea is one whose spread was more successful than that of other possibly good ideas. Those who live and die by evaluating communication from a logical lens are often either taken aback by – or are willfully ignorant of – just how far down the list logic is in influencing an idea’s spread.
First, Study the Landscape
There are risks to stating what you really believe. Especially when what you believe goes against the popular narrative, you’ll find your words consistently being misconstrued to fit someone else’s negative opinion of what you say.
Figure out the most common attack vectors the popular ideologues employ against people with your opinions. Ensure you put yourself through the many iterations of being disproved, debunked, and otherwise looked down upon in light of the ideas you aim to present to the world.
The vocal objectors to popular narratives – such as yourself – make mistakes in how they present their truth. They make it harder for successive members of that ideological minority to do the same. Some of them are linguistically challenged in their presentation of ideas, while others are too passive in anticipation of being attacked for their beliefs.
We come to find that the barriers of presenting thoughts which aim to poke holes in a popular belief keep shifting based on ongoing behaviors of those for, and against, the ideologies in question. Know where things stand at this point in time in relation to the conversation you seek to enter.
There is never a risk-free way of positioning against a popular notion or idea. Things deemed popular are seldom backed by weak points of view. Prior to thinking about your presentation strategies, you need to thoroughly test your ideas in the logical sense. Ensure they are as bulletproof as you can make them.
The success to the implementation of any one of your ideas is directly dependent on how logically sound its fundamental core is. You can become a master communicator, yet you’ll still find spreading a bad idea to be a difficult task.
The Silent Majority
The majority of those who think differently from the popular narrative don’t publicize their thoughts. It’s difficult to find a way to crack what’s deemed the popular notion, so the average counter-thinker simply doesn’t embark on that task. Not only are the popular ideas often meticulously iterated and tested, those who believe in the popular stance on any one topic will present themselves in large droves to defend their stance.
The subscribers of popular ideas have momentum and confidence on their side as they swat away anyone they deem to be disagreeing with their world views. These factors shouldn’t be underestimated. Your approach to deconstructing popular ideologies should account for time to pick apart the momentum and confidence with which people presenting popular opinions operate.
Should you choose to voice the unpopular opinion, you’ll find yourself battling against many versions of the same mind. They’ll recycle talking points and they’ll convene effective weapons against your stances. The resulting experience of defending your points will be somewhat overwhelming.
Jumping into battle against a popular ideology without preparation is an unwise strategy. Notwithstanding how well thought-through your unpopular ideas are, you’ll be left unsatisfied if you do not have the necessary backing support, the confidence of having others in agreement, and a strength to coordinate in numbers.
It is thereby wise to position yourself in the good graces of the silent majority that observes popular discourse from the sidelines as it devolves into more narrow, extreme stances. The more one-sided and acute a “popular” idea becomes, the more silent individuals who find issue with that echochamber there will be.
The transition of the silent minority (those who disagreed with the popular idea early) morphing into the silent majority often goes unnoticed but is fundamental to spreading your own opinions that go against what’s deemed so popular. Your only job in such a case is to be a conduit for the thoughts the silent majority feels on any popular, but dangerous stance. A mistake to make however, would be to assume the silent populous empathizes with your own stances without evidence.
When surveying the ideological landscape, ignore the loud ones and attune your senses to those who observe more than they contribute. At the very least, their opinions on the matter are likely nuanced. At the very most, they may totally disagree with the popular narrative being shared in society’s main channels of communication.
Since you’d already know the opinions of the loud ones, it’ll be most appropriate to build enough comfort in those remaining silent so that they share their real opinions with you.
Ensure you present yourself as a safe ideological entity to be around by not aligning with any stance at first, but being open to them all as you interact with members of the silent majority. There’s a reason people remain silent in the face of controversial issues, so ensure that your approach rids those people of any doubt around sharing their opinions.
At the phase of building comfort in an individual who has remained silent on an issue prior, it is empirical to not show your cards. All linguistic steps you take are vital to make unobtrusive, non-committal, and comforting to those about to open up their shell.
You’ll find many of those who remain silent to still support the popular ideologies you deem to be dangerous. Take no issue with that and move on to others whose stances you’ve yet to map.
Studying the topics you introduce nuance into entails seeking out individuals who disagree with you, and striving to keep a healthy dialogue going for as long as possible. As you test the argumentative waters of those who aren’t particularly loud in their presentation of ideological stances, try your best to not unveil your hand for as long as you can manage.
As the silent begin voicing their opinions, you’d have tremendous leverage of what to do with that information because you’d now wield it. By continuing to build comfort in the silent majority on any one issue or ideology, you’ll become a central entity. Remaining non-judgmental will be your superpower in a world whose judgments paralyze. In remaining open to the unheard opinions, you’ll be rewarded with information to infuse your future actions with.
The Iterative Approach Bolsters Your Thinking
Your mapping of those in the silent majority will include people who agree with you, and those who don’t, all with varying levels of open-mindedness. At this point, you’ll have an inventory list of who to go to in order to be agreed with, to be challenged, or to be listened to. Use your contacts strategically in the effort to make your own ideas bulletproof.
The position of disagreeing with a popular narrative is harder to hold than agreeing with it. Those who agree with something society has deemed to be correct (perhaps incorrectly) don’t have to cross their T’s and dot their I’s. That work’s been done for them, thereby their only contribution to the conversation entails their mere vote in favor of its conclusion.
As someone disagreeing with a conclusion which amassed many votes in its favor, you’ll need to come prepared. Your opinion becomes a burden at this point – it will force you to prove to yourself just how deep you’re willing to dive for the sake of presenting what you believe to be right.
Diving deep will entail studying every nuance about the popular ideological context whose position you deem dangerous, inconsistent, and incorrect. Objectivity is a goal to strive for, as making the same cognitive missteps as those whom you disagree with is a fool’s errand.
A major difference between aligning with a popular position and presenting an opinion against it is the requirement to hear just how wrong you are. You’ll be told you’re wrong in ways you don’t anticipate. It’ll be a consistent stream of unrewarding outcomes.
Rather than reacting to each iteration of being labeled wrong by those on the bus you’ve elected to not hop on, use each instance of being labeled wrong as an objective opportunity to fortify your argument.
An overarching theme in your pursuit for truth is to limit surprises as you begin voicing counter arguments for popular narratives. Limiting intellectual surprises entails repeated intellectual iterations – testing your arguments against counter-arguments over, and over, and over again.
Utilizing Those a Part of the Silent Majority Wisely
An effective approach is to utilize the individual members of the silent majority you deem to be open-minded enough to bounce your ideas off of. These people will be members in your corner prior to heading out and challenging the narrative at large against people you don’t know.
You’ll find yourself going through a repetitive cycle of being proven wrong, mislabeled, and rejected by those in line with popular ideologies prior to going back and discussing with your circle of members in the silent majority.
Two goals to keep in mind during this process are:
- To ensure your own thinking is improving with each iteration by taking the opinions of those with whom you disagree seriously.
- To improve the quality of thinking of those who agree with you as you huddle back with them to discuss your experiences in challenging popular, but bad, ideas.
The members of the silent majority you align yourself with when the popular narrative gets out of hand is your backbone of intellectual reinforcement. Your degree of open-mindedness in approaching those who remain silent in regards to popular but controversial stances will control the degree to which your own ideas grow. Remember that your task is to select safe, open-minded individuals to bounce ideas against and to interpret their good ideas for yourself.
The outcomes of this iterative process will result in a stronger base of individuals who are all on the same page regarding their stances to do with popular narratives. Members of the silent majority you befriend and iterate your ideas with will have their own contacts, communication channels, and avenues of spreading the ideas you mutually discuss. In addition, you’ll be more armed to challenge what’s deemed to be the popular narrative depending on the quality of those in the silent majority you find and surround yourself with.
Start small, iterate, and increase the scope of your challenges only when you gain confidence in your understanding of the matter at hand through consistent back and forths with those you’ve deemed open-minded enough to practice with in private.
Granularity Is Your Best Friend
Every popular ideological discussion or debate consists of parts to a complete whole. The barriers faced by those who disagree with overall, general, popular narratives are great from the get-go. Those who take little care in their presentation of counter-narratives leave their listeners with no room to interpret their nuanced opinions by making blanket statements.
The more granular your focus on points of disagreement is, the more success you’ll have in preventing swarms of ideologically deconstructive criticisms. General statements are easy to attack and deconstruct. They’re lazy to make, and make the lazy perceive them as easy targets for criticism.
Granularities and nuances exist in every facet of conversations you partake in. To gloss over the details is lazy no matter how you cut it. Thereby focus on the details to the points you make. Be precise in terms of what you disagree with about a controversial subject. Ensure you never label yourself to be against anything as a whole, and deconstruct that whole into its segments. Disagree with those segments whilst keeping an open mind toward the whole those segments make up.
For example, those who’ve attained more life experience that the rest often make the mistake of painting younger generations with the same broad strokes. As they make unfavorable general statements about younger generations, their statements are abrasive to most younger people who listen. These individuals have no hope of gaining peers of the groups they criticize to agree with them as their statements act similar to astrological predictions in that they can apply to all.
Ensure to challenge yourself to be more granular in every statement you make which goes against popular narratives. Try making your general position difficult for lazy listeners to figure out by attacking segments of a complete whole, and partitioning things about the topic as a whole that you find issues with.
Such an approach will not only give you breathing room to operate prior to being swarmed with group-thinkers who’ve labeled you as an enemy. It will challenge you to make points which are based on a logical dissection of general ideas into smaller segments. The precision of your ideas will need to match the nuance toward which you’ve ventured.
Aligning Yourself With Groups or Labels
Be considerate of adopting the weaknesses of the groups you align yourself with. Though labeling yourself to be on this side or that one can seem appetizing from the standpoint of establishing a favorable first impression and identity, don’t forget that every identity has its weaknesses and pitfalls.
Try your hardest to avoid falling into a bucket of schools of thought, people, places, or ideas whose weaknesses you’ll need to defend simply due to being associated with their labels.
As you remain granular and study the details of every topic you seek to introduce nuance into, you can do yourself more harm than good in voluntarily aligning with certain schools of thought and ideologies.
In yearning to become an astute thinker, you’ll realize that assigning labels to yourself often brings more bad than good. Don’t try to be easily digestible to those who barely listen to your ideas. Present ideas with extreme caution and care at those whose eyes and ears are perched in your directions. In doing so, labeling yourself to be anyone other than yourself is a misstep when that label hasn’t been thoroughly vetted.