What is being said is always judged in conjunction with who is saying it. And judgment is always a combination of subjective feelings and objective criteria. Unfortunately, people are mostly subjective; with objectivity being just a tool of convenience and defense to their subjective opinion.
When Obama got Nobel peace prize, some people hailed Obama; others dissed the sanctity of Nobel Prize itself. When S&P downgraded US debts, economists thought it was an appropriate move; politicians got the S&P CEO fired. When AR Rehman got his double academy awards, the fans worshipped AR Rehman, the others ridiculed the Awards themselves. Latest in this series is the Times magazine calling Dr. Singh an underperformer — economy-watchers agree with the view, fascists are railroading Times, for its accused lack of credibility. If, sometime in the future, Sachin Tendulkar is decorated with Bharat Ratna, a vast majority of India would build temples for him, the objective critiques will be bludgeoned.
So, when you speak, not only are your points of view evaluated for what they are, but you are also evaluated for who you are. The irony is the subjective view is always the populist view. Because popular by definition means “of the people” — and because most people are subjective, the scientific view takes a stabbing.
How many times have you tried articulating — to your spouse, your boss, your best friend or the other — on your scientific view of something and felt slighted? How do you fix it? This, I opine, is the risk of character.
It is one thing to keep earning stripes so that your views stay consistent with your integrity and judgment of things. Unfortunately, if you are a CEO of a business or President of a democratic country, this doesn’t guarantee you your job.
It is another thing to just provide views, which you know will be popular. This is sadly what most people resort to, and what that makes you is a wildcard. Worse than death, if you ask me. But the job — we have you covered.
So, the first question you have to ask yourself and the closing lines of the post is — what are you?