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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

About time to ditch our dogmas?

As I recall, Dogma was a club – and still is, according to a quick Google search representing the breadth of my research into the matter – in Nottingham that I spent several happy hours in visiting friends who had chosen to complete their undergraduate degrees in the vibrant East Midlands city.

Forgive any ringing as though I am a Nottingham based estate agent! This popular haunt of contemporaries of mine that happened to be called Dogma is really beside anything that I am actually intending to write about in itself. It represented nothing to me beyond somewhere that I could aim to experience a fun time in, whilst clinging to some sense of being a fully confident and adept, independent adult. Ha-ha.

Alas, you cannot re-buy your youth. Thank God! (Even as an atheist, I cannot think of a way to express this sentiment without taking the Lord’s name in vain or replacing the word by going along a similar trajectory with using ‘heavens’) Still I can look upon it with rose tinted specs and reflect upon how much I think that the old black and white dogmas are an inevitable and excusable part of clutching at straws to form some semblance of an identity through which you can be defined.

Of course caring about what the world makes of you and owning that you have a level of concern for what other people have to be integral to our sanity. Being consumed by the perception that other people have of us cannot be positive for anybody’s mental health. This is exactly what I believe that many vocalised dogmatic thoughts represent.

Owning opinions as gospel is something that we must all be guilty of at times and it is at times difficult distinguish between what our frame of reference convinces us is truth and what is just our viewpoint. Social media must certainly feed into this licensed channeling of our own thoughts, in that we’ll to a significant extent, only be privy to those who think in a similar way as ourselves. Granted, this phenomenon must always have existed in the sense of which mainstream newspaper, social groups, mates etc. etc. associated themselves with. But, I’m not sure that we could enter into quite such an open and hostile environment to launch hostility.

We are all the prey of this most narcissistic sense of advertising our own opinions and curtailing them to supposedly form some meaningful identity. The most insecure people who come complete in the most limited satisfaction with their own identity have to be the most vulnerable victims of this apparent craze in terms of vociferously expressing controversial opinions.

It is almost as though a cyber-wall can become some relied upon by people in order to act as a buffer to the real world. I’m well aware of the bitter-irony in my position here! This, I think is what I am really trying to help emphasise; I feel that so much conversation and compromise needs to be reached by actually opening-up and talking about issues of the day.

The ease at which we can express our opinions into the ether – often complete with character limit – can only amount to their lack of real depth or substance. It is also in the fact that it must limit our freedom to think for ourselves, where we are so compromised by concern for how our opinions make us appear.

Age is just a number and all of that old spiel, but I cannot help but be concerned that this concern for what people think of us from such a detached online perspective and the ease at which we can fabricate a perception of ourselves only plays in to us all living out a form of a stunted youth. Not to mention stilted. This is how I think that in a world where we have never had the fortune of enjoying such open access to such a wealth of information, is it not time that we celebrated this resource together?

This would be in collectively sharing views and deliberating upon the best path to go down in the future. This should surely be in a way that breaks free from the infantile nature of the way that power has been acclaimed – Trump and Johnson to give but a couple of examples – and break free into a world where we can actually listen to each other. This would mean that we could be freer agents, devoid from the pressure of whatever our opinion somehow represents about ourselves.

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