Does It Matter to Anyone What I Think?

I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, my being afraid to say what I think. I’m not sure it’s fear, like hiding-under-the-bed fear, that keeps me from talking about the things that worry me. It’s a healthy sense of self-preservation, but even more than that, it’s that I don’t think it matters what I think. It is interesting to talk to people, to get other points of view, to broaden one’s outlook, but when such a discourse is not available, when all people want is to propound their own point of view (emphasis on “pound”), talking doesn’t advance any cause. (Nor does burning buildings, or even oneself, but that’s a discussion for a more benign and less uncivil era.)

In a gale force wind, a puff of breath is not noticed, and certainly won’t help to calm the forces creating the wind. In a ship violently crashing from side to side because of insanely high waves, nothing one can say will rock the boat any further, and certainly won’t help to steady the craft or the people in it.

If what I said (or wrote) really mattered, I might be courageous enough to tell my truth, but when so many people have already made up their minds, locked their mental door behind them, and pulled up the drawbridge against critical thought, a single word or a thousand will not batter down those fortifications.

A greater problem than closed minds is that people hear what they want to hear, filtered through their own value system. They hear a slogan, process what it means to them, and then head out to defend that slogan without ever finding out what that slogan means to the people who wrote it and what their agenda really is. Which means sometimes well-intentioned people fight against their own interests without knowing it.

This is a relatively short blog. I’d written a lot more, even going so far, despite my reservations, as to talk about many of the issues at stake, but in the end, I deleted all that because I realized it truly doesn’t matter what I think. I’m not sure it even matters to me. Nothing I think will change anything. Nothing I say will change anyone’s actions, so is there any point in even thinking about the current situation? It’s not as if I’m young and still have a whole lot of ideological formation ahead of me. I’m pretty much a done deal. I’ve mostly lived my life in my own head, and a lifetime of thinking and reading and researching and studying and writing and being can’t be undone by new/old emotionally-charged slogans or radical groupthink.

Besides, nothing in this new world is more redundant than an old woman, no matter how perspicacious her thoughts might be.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

5 Responses to “Does It Matter to Anyone What I Think?”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    When we speak our truths, occasionally somebody hears them, ponders them, tries them out for themselves–and then they change. So, I think what we think matters, not because it will change the world, but because our thoughts are like the nectar of the gods flowing through out souls–plus there’s always that person who might overhear and find our thoughts help them, too. Not often, because few people want to hear what an old man thinks unless he’s rich, famous, and handsome, none of which applies to me.

  2. Sam Sattler Says:

    In the great scheme of things, I don’t suppose it matters what we think, be we right, or be we wrong. But I resent having to feel afraid to open my mouth at all in public because some closet-racist or anarchist may take offense. Having said that, I don’t want to get caught up in the virtual meat-grinder they use to destroy the lives of folks they disagree with – even though I’m retired and they can’t cost me a job.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s a dilemma, that’s for sure, one we shouldn’t have to deal with. The people who have been burned out (not for saying anything necessarily, but just being in the way of the mob) serve as a fiery reminder of what mob rule can do. And when the mob is in control, sane words are not heard. Strange and scary times.

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