There are certain things that people, say again and again, without thinking and, these days, I am trying to avoid commenting about them because I want to choose to walk down a different street. As I have said previously, the conversation about modern art is one that I am not prepared to enter into again. In future, instead of engaging in this type of conversation, perhaps I’ll just add more of these comments to my little list here.
So, I thought that, partly as a cathartic act and partly as a reminder to myself, I’d list a few more conversations that I hope I will be able to wisely avoid when the bait is presented. They are all fruitless conversations in my experience. However, as a way of permanently releasing my normal reactions, I have also included my own thoughts below. Hopefully, I will then not feel quite so obliged to comment when the time comes.
“Most wars are caused by religion.”
Yawn. This is just uninformed and completely untrue. It is not a point for debate; it has been the subject of a study that set out to answer the question (see Does Religion Cause War). The conclusion was that most wars are not caused by religion. Religion has been an influence and indeed, a cause of some wars, but not most wars. In fact, wars are caused by intolerance whether that be religious intolerance or some other kind.
“I saw a fortune teller who told me things about some subject (perhaps their past or their family) that he could not possibly have known.”
Good trick. Derren Brown can not only do that too, he can tell you how to do it and even teach you how to do it. If you continue to refuse to believe that this can be very effectively accomplished through ‘cold reading’ alone, then it simply highlights your own need or desire to believe in something beyond this physical realm of existence. Nothing wrong with that of course but, as any stage magician will tell you (well, if they are being honest that is), the magic really happens in the mind of the observer.
“My Grandad smoked 40 a day every day since he was twenty and he died at 75 years old. So it never did him any harm.”
We don’t tend to hear that comment too much these days, but when I was a kid, it was bandied about quite commonly. It is an idiotic comment. It is like saying that your Grandad walked along a railway track every day of his life without managing to get himself electrocuted or hit by a train. That may be quite true, but it really doesn’t make it safe or a good idea for other people to do the same thing.
“There’s no point saving because the interest rate is so poor.”
If you cannot manage small amounts of money, you will not be able to manage large amounts either. Saving is one of the fundamental principles of wealth acquisition (see Money Management). If you don’t discipline yourself to save a proportion of your earnings, regardless of the economic circumstances, you are almost certainly doomed to be always living off credit. That, in turn, means you will need to earn a higher salary and that leads to you working ridiculous hours or doing other things you don’t really want to do in order to make ends meet.
“That footballer was not worth the sum of money they paid for him.”
The value of anything, whether it is a painting, a piece of furniture or a footballer is governed by the law of supply and demand. The transfer market dictates the value of a footballer, just as the housing market dictates what your house is worth, whether you personally like it or not. You might feel the money would have been better spent elsewhere and you might be right about that. You might feel the club was wrong to purchase the asset and you might be right about that too. You might feel that the player is not performing well for the club and that might also be true. But the true value of the footballer in question is always exactly what the open market is prepared to pay for him.
Now, I feel a little better for getting that off my chest. But I hope my little exercise does the trick for me. The above are genuinely 5 conversations I never want to have again in my life.