We all get attached to things, and emotionally invested in products or stories we enjoy even if these things don’t have an active effect on our lives. And by extension it’s normal to get a bit riled up when these things come under scrutiny or get criticised. However lately I’ve been seeing a lot of incidences, particularly in the gaming industry, where people are so attached to the product and the company behind it that any opposing thought or criticism of it leads to intense hostility and personal attacks without regard for the opinion itself. I’m sure we’ve all seen this before. Some would call it being part of the internet. My issue, however, is not with people who become attached to products, but those who become so emotionally invested that they actually willfully choose to be close-minded towards any opposing opinions regarding what they enjoy. Willfully choosing to be close-minded, folks, is ridiculous.

Of course there’s extra flavour when the topic being discussed is sensitive or controversial. Controversy has a lovely habit of exposing very stupid people with very stupid opinions. And from the outside it can be amusing to watch people resort to personal attacks because they can’t actually think of an argument or worthwhile opinion to counter what is being said by someone. But I know first hand the frustration involved when dealing with people who won’t even spare a thought to your view or even engage with it, but will simply turn nasty because you said something upsetting about their favourite game or book or movie. You see, perhaps I can understand if someone you know is throwing negative opinions down your throat and you don’t wish to have a constructive argument. Sure, that’s fine I guess. But the internet is opt-in. Engaging with any material is opt-in. You don’t have to do it. You can walk away. But to tune in just to personally attack someone you disagree with either makes you insecure, troubled and thoughtless – probably a bit of all.

The nature of art or even opinions in general is that it’s up to interpretation and subjective views. There will be difference. There will be conflict. There will be sides. But it’s foolish to allow these to cause a divide that leads to hostility towards the opposition and close-minded behaviour. If you only ever engage with people who agree with you or share similar views to you, then you are choosing to be ignorant. They say ignorance is bliss. Maybe in some cases, but in this case ignorance is the equivalent of self-induced mental retardation. Furthermore, you’d be living according to the confirmation bias, which is to only search for evidence to back up your claims, and ignore contrary information.

Let me bring it back around. I’m not saying that you have to agree with your opposition or you have to change your own stance. But at least hear out people with different views. You might actually learn something, or expand your own opinion. Personally I don’t think someone is worth my time or effort if they choose to be close-minded. I’d rather converse with my eight year old cousin in that case. Worse are people who just become aggressive when faced with people who say things they don’t like. If you’re that insecure or emotionally troubled that you choose to personally attack someone who said something you don’t like about a product or a thing, then maybe you ought to look in the mirror before you tell that person they should “never have kids” or something related. And I’m not exaggerating. I honestly saw that as a personal attack, literally yesterday. I laughed, sure, because I have a great (and disturbed) sense of humour, but seeing the funny side in something pathetic doesn’t make it any less pathetic.

To draw this to a close, I’d say like whatever you want. Become attached to whatever you want. It’s good to get invested in what you enjoy. But don’t let it be at the expense of keeping an open mind. You can learn a lot from people with opposing views. You can learn something from someone who says something you don’t like. If you open your ears and let your brain juices flow you may even realise that the person has good points and it’s possible to agree with them without betraying whatever it is that you love. Or something like that. The message is really simple. Don’t get emotionally attached to things if you also choose to be close-minded, and don’t contribute to the idiocy in the world. There’s more than enough of it already.

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