You Don’t Have To Have An Opinion

When the Twitter board accepted Elon Musk’s bid to buy the social network, the whole of Twitter exploded. At least, the timeline I was served seemed to. Every tweet I saw was either outrage or celebration.

Here’s an alternative from Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius:

It is possible to form no opinion on this matter and not be troubled in one’s mind; for things themselves are not of such a nature that they can create judgements within us.

Meditations 6.52 (Robin Hard translation)

Whenever something generates a strong emotion within you, it’s worth taking a step back and re-evaluating your relationship with it. Maybe the feeling is an appropriate reaction to a significant event. Or maybe your relationship, with Twitter in this case, is a bit too deep.

Marcus’ quote is about the inner life of the mind, but his encouragement to “form no opinion” stands out to me for other reasons, too.

Like any other ad-support service, Twitter needs to keep users engaged as long as possible. The best way to do this? Polarizing content that touches your buttons.

Twitter has become the place where culture wars are fought because of this engineered polarization. Everybody seems to be picking sides. But you can stay neutral and see what happens first. Do like my friend Russel did and buy popcorn instead.


Cover image via Wikipedia, cropped by the author.

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