Humans seem to innately want to make quick assumptions about everything. We tend to see one thing, hear one thing, feel one thing, and base pretty much all of our ideas off of one certain assumption we prematurely make.
Remember that McDonald’s case back from 1994 where Stella Liebeck burned herself pretty badly with McDonald’s coffee, and sued the fast food giant? Many people ended up sticking to McDonalds’ side and said that she was penny pinching, using a small incident to get some money. However, the truth was that Ms. Liebeck (a 79 year-old-woman), suffered from third degree burns after spilling it while sitting in her grandson’s unmoving car. The coffee was 180º-190º F! When you look at it that way, doesn’t it seem just a bit less ridiculous?
Or take the idea of “Genetically modified foods” into account,
People are always saying that we need to go anti-GMO, or else we’re all going to die of disease, so we should theoretically not consume any genetically modified foods. What people fail to realize is that…while we are eating a lot of genetically modified foods, there’s benefits that come along with the potential risks of genetically modified foods. This isn’t some black and white debate, but one that really does require a lot of insight and background knowledge to create a good stance on this topic. Not some infographic from Facebook, or a frenzy-inducing article posted by media outlets on the Internet.
This happens so often, no matter what period of time it is, or where it’s taking place. Call it laziness, naiveté, or just plain ignorance, but there’s no denying that it’s not happening.
Think about any high profile, controversial topic of today, and see what people have to say about it (ahem, US Presidential Elections anyone?). There’s always going to be those hoards of people that follow short bits of info that shape their entire viewpoint off of one thing, and then proceed to post that opinion everywhere (see this article I wrote about the topic back in August).
When people make quick assumptions on large topics, especially controversial ones, it tends to do more bad than good. By taking small seeds of information and turning them into biased, illogical plants of opinions…it tends to affect not only their own growth, but also sometimes their entire ecosystem of surrounding life. I’ve seen so many instances where people are shamed and brought down because of the opinions that spectators quickly made, and shared, by seeing only a small amount of the whole story. It’s because of situations like this that people end up getting hurt when they shouldn’t, and that people who are in the wrong are painted with innocence. It all depends on the public…and generally speaking, the public isn’t very good at finding the real, transparent truth.
But as we know, it seems to be a part of human nature. The fact that we instinctively make these immediate assumptions, so is it wrong of us to do so? When does it stop being okay to share these assumptions? In the end, it’s more a matter of ethics versus practicality or natural instinct. It’s almost as if in situations such as these that having a filter is completely necessary. You really need to “think before you speak”, because the last thing that we would want is to come off as bigoted, discriminatory, or plain rude, even if it’s “just our opinion”.