I am a nobody in Australia who happens to blog a lot. Normally, I’m stunned almost to silence when anyone asks my opinion on anything (“Babe, what do you think about this couch?”). Yet increasingly there is evidence that people want my opinion and that there are people out there who listen to what I’m saying. So today I’m asking the question of you and of me: why should you listen to me?
I’ve Got Nothing
I have no good answer. Off the top of my head, nothing is coming to mind. Personally, I think I am ill-qualified to offer any comments on, well, anything. I mean look at my qualifications:
- Bachelor’s in English (Writing)
- 12+ years of experience in homeschooling
- A lifetime of Anglicanism
And that’s about it. So according to this list, I should stick to the topics of English, homeschooling, and Anglicanism. But I continuously diverge into other topics, such as politics, ethics, philosophy, and general life questions. I do not have qualifications to do so since I never studied those things and I have no direct experience of them as far as employment goes. In fact, the accusation that I am an unqualified ignoramus could be leveled against me and I would have no choice but to agree.
But there has to be a reason why people still read these blog posts. So what is it? What keeps you coming back?
You Know Something I Don’t
Hopefully, you keep coming back because you find these posts interesting. I can’t speak to that. For all I know you keep coming back in order to find any of the typos and rail against the sad state of writing in the world today. Or you just read the headings and skip the small text because it really doesn’t say anything. But possibly (hopefully) you like to read these because they interest you, because you enjoy them, because they offer you something.
Only you can know that for sure. I won’t pretend to speak for you on that point. But I think maybe you have figured out something that I am only just beginning to understand. Perhaps you keep coming back because I am a human being, just like you.
I mentioned the other day that I’ve been reading the Dalai Lama’s book Beyond Religion. It was excellent, but I think the most confronting thing for me was the idea that we should practice ethics on the basis of our shared humanity. There’s no deity requiring you to act ethically, there’s no promise of eternal reward, and there’s no overarching reason bigger than ourselves that makes it a good idea to practice ethics. Instead the reason to be ethical is us – we are enough of a reason.
I think that is what it all comes down to, the reason why you are willing to listen to me at all. Perhaps unconsciously, you know that being human is enough to justify lilstening. Not just to me, but to anyone. If we were having a conversation in person, you would listen politely and then give a response. A blog is basically just a different form of conversation, one in which no response is expected, but the listening is.
What I’m trying to say is that qualifications aren’t themselves good enough reasons to listen to anyone. Instead, the fact that we’re all human, we all live on this planet, and we all live in the same time of upheaval and triumph is what makes it beneficial, even desirable to listen to each other. You shouldn’t listen to me any more than you should listen to anyone else. But you should listen to everyone because they all have something to say.
Don’t Read This
Look, you don’t have to read anything I write. In fact, you could stop reading right now and it wouldn’t hurt you a bit. But eventually, you will have to listen to someone, whether it’s me, or a journalist, or someone on TV, or a neighbor, or your own family. And all of these people are equally important, therefore what they have to say is equally important.
So let’s rewrite that tiny list of qualifications and make it even tinier:
- I’m human
- I have something to say
And that’s it. That is all anyone needs in order to deserve being listened to.
That doesn’t mean I have only good things to say, far from it. I probably say a lot of stupid stuff, a lot of stuff that is completely wrong, but that’s okay. It is okay to say something stupid as long as you’re trying to figure out what is right.
So in conclusion, no, you don’t have to listen to me. But that does not mean that I and everyone else is not worthy of being listened to. Just because you deserve something, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. And that’s okay. If you don’t want to listen to me, then don’t. I promise not to be offended. In case you do, though, at least you know you have a good reason.
Trolling for comments:
And if you want to be listened to, then leave a comment! I promise to read it.
(Was this entire post a way to ask for comments?)