Often in a discussion, people easily take sides on an issue. In such a case, not having an opinion or abstaining from having one isn’t considered acceptable. How should one emphasize that not having an opinion isn’t a matter of guilt? Also, not taking one side doesn’t necessarily mean taking the opposite, just as not being happy doesn’t necessarily mean being sad.
In issues where one lacks background knowledge, it is rather appropriate to not take sides. However, as far as knowledge is concerned, one can never know enough as learning is an ongoing process. But not having an opinion serves as an impetus to learn about the issue and critically analyze the arguments from both the sides.
Another aspect that comes into play is consequence of having or not having an opinion. This is to say that not having an opinion mostly leads to not taking an action on the issue. For example, in case of a judge having to call someone guilty or not has tangible consequences. In such a case, how should one go about forming an opinion?
In addition to questioning the idea of having or not having opinions, values of one’s opinions or their value to oneself were discussed during the evening. Specially in cases where either one doesn’t care or in cases where one does not have stakes in the cause. This however doesn’t diminish the power of one’s voice.
A related movie that came up in the discussion was 12 Angry Men.