One of the most frequently touted dictums of our current age is that we must not set too much stock by what people think of us, yet most of us are striving it seems to be human beings worthy of some esteem in our communities and societies. How to square the circle? It’s a problem of values that has bothered me for some time, as someone of a somewhat sensitive temperament, people’s opinions and expressed thoughts often make a powerful impression on me. Now, I think I have the solution, certainly a framework that works for me. It is difficult as a conscious human being, not to care about what others say; we are afterall creatures that have evolved specifically to care for the opinion of others, and perhaps what is needed is an effective method of sifting through this opinion, and in doing this, I have been helped by another saying; opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. I have modified it now – opinion are more strictly speaking like the products of assholes, or any other bodily orifice for that matter, and we should really treat them as such. In hearing or becoming aware of someone’s opinion of you or a matter in which you have an interest, obligation or duty – we should properly assess what metaphorical orifice this person might be speaking from – given that most of us are full of shit, metaphorically and (probably literally) – much of what people think and say is probably shit – whether it is horsheshit, or bullshit, depends on the quality of the animal of course. It may very well be that the person or opinion you are hearing is not shit, it might be spittle, mucus, blood or spunk – we might decide what this person is spouting, and even examine the metaphorical orifice the product is coming from; the products of some assholes might be useful to pay attention to, afterall, to paraphrase the great André “3000” Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton – who formed the group, OutKast, “roses really smell like poo boo boo”. It goes without saying that just because its shit doesn’t mean it’s not useful, on a material level, Chris Ofili’s “No Woman, No Cry”, Madonna was a superlatively effective use of a piece of shit – elephant dung in the work, which is a metaphorical interpretation of the pieta, through the prism of a black mother’s pain. On a linguistic level, perhaps the best evidence that a piece of shit might be useful occurred in 2002, in the thick of the United States invasion of Iraq when Donald Rumsfeld, then U.S. A Secretary of Defence responded with evidently Weasley words to the question of Weapons of Mass Destruction by saying “reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” Despite the ensuing derision, Rumsfeld weasel word justifications, ended up representing a paradoxically effective representation of collective vacilattation on action in the face of uncertainty – and it turns out, that according to Wikipedia, the shit he was taking actually had a rather strong and sound psychological grounding – turns out he was expressing in a convoluted way the principles behind the Johari Window created by psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. All of which is to say, relax, open your mouth and don’t be afraid to take a verbal shit, because even though your shit stinks, it might be nurturing a flower somewhere – just don’t swallow other people’s shit without examining it – no matter how fragrant the asshole.
This is a short version of a longer essay to be published on http://www.jebujene.org.