Just got an invitation from a guy named Marcus Smith, who runs this website, SurveyMagnet.com.
Marcus invited me to be a guest writer, and informed me that they use “opinion articles,” because they place a small poll at the bottom of each article.
I went to the site and it looked sort of fun.
So I wrote something that I thought would make for an interesting survey, although it really isn’t much of an opinion.
I’ve always been way too opinionated. I’m aware of this and try to keep it in check, but I’m still far too opinionated. Ask anybody who knows me.
And here somebody wants an opinion from me and what do I do? Not give one.
I was lucky enough, once upon a time, to participate in a seminar with the father of seminars, Mortimer Adler. Adler said that opinions represent a lack of knowledge (or something like that). Whether that’s what he said or that’s only what I remember, it doesn’t matter. He wrote volumes about this I’ve surely got it wrong — both from a standpoint of accuracy and oversimplification. But it’s what I remember, and I’ve spent years believing it to be true and have incorporated it into my thinking (which almost surely signifies a lack of knowledge on my part — oh well).
Anyhow, here’s what I wrote for the site — along with a poll at the bottom:
How responsible are you?
Do you assume responsibility for everything that happens in your life? If you do, then you feel that you created everything in the universe — your universe. You are responsible for your relationships, and the quality of your relationships. You created your house, your car, your career. When you make a good tuna salad sandwich, it’s because you intended that. When you have a bad baloney sandwich, you are responsible for that. You even feel responsible for the weather. When it rains, you feel you created the rain. When you feel great, it’s because you want to feel great. When you have a tummy ache or a sore knee, it’s because you wanted a tummy ache or a sore knee. You are totally responsible for creating the life you have. If you don’t like things in your life, it’s because you wanted things in your life you don’t like. You even believe that you chose your parents.
Or, do you take responsibility for nothing that happens in your life? If you’ve got a great husband or wife, it’s because you’re lucky. If you have a great career with a fabulous income, it’s because you were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, every step of the way. If your car sucks, it’s because somebody sold you a lemon. If there are relationships in your life that give you grief, then it’s because those people are jerks. If you’ve got a cough that won’t go away, it’s because of the climate, or the sick guy at work who coughed in your direction and gave you a bug. If you can’t get your novel published, it’s because the editors are fools. If your team loses a game, it’s because somebody cheated, or the ref was a bum, or the winning team had a lucky day. If you get a ticket, it was a trap. If you win the lottery, it was your lucky day; you had nothing to do with it. You take responsibility for nothing. If you’ve got a personality disorder, it’s because your parents abused you. If you’re a winner in all areas of life, you were lucky to have such special parents.
Most of us fall somewhere in between. We are all over the map — depending on the circumstances.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much responsibility for your life do you take?