― Bob Marley
Dissent is the ability to oppose popular opinion and hold viewpoints that may be at odds with society.
Society, like a collective 'Ego', is concerned with fitting in and going with the flow of popular culture. For instance, certain fashion trends in clothing, style, and politics. When people are not mature enough to form their own ideas, they tend to rely on trusted relationships such as parents, siblings, close family and friends to share beliefs with.
"Cool kids" in school can be seen setting trends that eventually others will adopt and become commonplace in such environments. The ability to influence young minds that haven't yet learned to think for themselves can be dangerous grounds for the abuse of influence. If one were to use their influence to shame a person then that would be abusive to the self esteem of the singled out individual(s). Conversely, influence can be used to build up and encourage individuals to free themselves from following social constructs.
Skepticism is the ability to question ideas or motivations for behavior. It can be used in a healthy manner to help an individual see multiple sides to a certain perspective. For example, understanding the motivations of a salesperson can help to clarify the reasons why a buyer must act in order to make a decision. This applies to business, medicine, relationships, politics and religion.
In the end, a choice must often be made. Nobody can sit on the fence forever (otherwise, the choice makes them). Understand the privilege to hold thoughts of dissent, be skeptical, be fair, and be firm in your beliefs. It takes courage to swim against the flow of society. The only true freedom one actually has, is the ability to make up your own mind. Choose wisely.
“Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club