Does fear of unpopularity hold us back from speaking our truths?

For a month now I have been tossing up ideas in my head to blog about, and then shutting them down based on how they may reflect on myself and my career or image as an artist or a writer, because some how, the world seems to have descended into a huge popularity contest, where if your opinion does not fit in with the status quo then frankly you better keep your mouth shut or face being criticized, trolled, boycotted or worse. I’ve heard so many stories about people getting persecuted over shit that they have said not just recently, but 20, 30, 40 years ago. Some of those things which had already been brought to light, resolved and apologised for, coming back for yet another bite in the ass.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not the same person I was 20 years ago. To be honest I don’t even think that I’m the same person that I was last week. Life is such that we are constantly evolving as human beings and our ability to learn creates opportunity to change our thoughts and feelings over time. At one stage we were all ignorant. And then we experienced, we researched, we learnt and we changed – for better or worse, however, the shift in thought still occurred. So when I think about people these days, digging up old words and opinions of someone in order to push some kind of take down operation, I can’t help but wonder if the situation is unjust.

Must we start censoring ourselves in order for us not to be targeted in the future?

Because sometimes that’s what I find myself doing. ‘Oh I shouldn’t write that because people will get offended, or take it the wrong way or hold it against me later’

So what does this say about freedom of speech and expression today? Do we value popularity more than truth? If everyone shares the same hesitation I do sometimes, then the world might forever be led by those who can speak the loudest, rather than those who are right…. And that is a very scary world to live in.

So what do we do then?

Well we ‘grow some balls’, voice our opinions and stand by them, but also give opportunity for people to challenge and convince us otherwise. The second part of that sentence is where I think people struggle the most. People should be able to say what ever they damn well want. And we DO NOT need to agree with them. And that is OK.

This simple concept seems to be so difficult many to grasp. Words are words and we should be able to express them freely. It is only when you ACT on an idea and cause harm to others that you should rightly dealt with. And I’m not talking about ‘hurting people’s feelings’ kinda harm here. We need to learn how to agree to disagree. If you have a different opinion to me, I should be able to hear and acknowledge that opinion, but I also should have the right to think that you are a fuckwit and disagree with you. And vice versa. I mean when did we all get so ‘soft’ anyway?

The reality is, if you do not let people express through speech and language, then their natural progression is to ACT in order to be noticed. And this is much more dangerous cause ‘sticks and stones’ and all.

Every human feels the need to be heard and we should not be so quick to silence opinions that are different or challenging to us. Rather, we must learn to debate, communicate and understand each other, even when we don’t agree. And most importantly we must believe that we have the power to convince others, to change and to evolve our thoughts and ideas. Otherwise what hope do we have to live together peacefully?

We should not be scared to voice our opinions regardless of how unpopular they may be, and we should not try to smother the voice of others. Censorship and oppression are never the answer. It is amazing to see so many ‘free speech’ advocates actively trying to silence their opposition.

I don’t want to live in a world where I have to Censor myself on the most basic level ‘just in case’.

I’m human and creative and I live to express.