Opinion: Critic or creative?


Is it really important to know what the various Kardashian sisters had for lunch? Does our great uncle have much insight into the COVID-19 vaccine protocols that might be best for us? Even as we share copious amounts of personal information, the anonymity proffered by social media drives us to rest confident in our safety, assured that none will fully know our intention or thoughts. There we can say, and do as we wish, or so we believe, because our tirade after a few glasses of wine will not likely bring much attention to our irresponsibility. Instead, we tell ourselves that few who mattered bothered to read our posts.

In personal interaction, it is more difficult to distance ourselves from our biases. As such, many of us come to be adroit at concealing our perspectives. We withhold knowing there to be advantage in possessing knowledge that the others in our lives do not. We manipulate them hoping to gain insight about their views without expressing the vulnerability of our own. Playing the game masterfully, we might claim that we know an answer but want to see if others do. If they respond to the question correctly, we promise to tell them. Unfortunately, we often have no idea and only hope to get our friend, associate or loved one to share their view first. We then react to them as if we had an opinion all along.

We shift the responsibility of considered thought to our counterpart. We place ourselves into the role of critic, not creative. Surely, we should show restraint in always leading with our own point of view. But is holding back intentionally to pump information out of others just as flawed? If withholding is an effective tactic to achieve advantage, is up-front transparency an indication of moral action?