“In my defense …”
How many times have you started a sentence this way? Were you in the middle of an argument? Maybe you were trying to prove a point. Maybe you felt the need to justify or explain your point of view.
There’s a loaded assumption in using the word defense that something needs to be defended. Defense implies, and expects, a resistance to and fortification against a perceived threat.
What are you defending … and why?
Are we defending a point of view, an argument or an idea? Are we rising to the defense of an opinion? Of course we are. But …
It’s not simply a point of view or an opinion is it?
It’s MY opinion. OUR point of view.
In MY defense implies we are not only defending what we say but who we are. The sense of ownership we have over our ideas and opinions lead us down a slippery slope of continually defining and defending who we are by the opinions we hold and the ideas we generate. While I won’t argue that these may in fact be important parts of our more holistic identity, the danger here comes when we hold so tightly to these opinions and ideas as possessions that we resist and outright repel change.
We hoard and safeguard knowledge much like any other possession, equating more knowledge with more status and more power. Are we, then, defending our own fluctuating sense of identity against the inevitable tide of change? Why does this happen? Should it?