Is fear necessary? Is inhibition a positive tool in our society? Is the fact that we as human beings care enough about the opinions of others to radically change our own behavior a social good?
I do believe so. I think my actions make that clear. The reason I think out every sentence, why I put such a strange weight on correct words in correct order with correct inflection is merely to ensure that my meaning is not misunderstood, and involved parties typically unoffended.
The fact of the matter is, when I hear someone say, "I don't really care what people think about me," I get scared. I am frightened our society is moving towards something other than conscientious action. When people don't care about what people think of people, we grow dangerously close to acting not in the interest of the whole, but only in the interest of the self.
Though, ultimately those who say such things do not truly lack caring for the opinions of others, but want to be thought of as someone who doesn't care.
But there is a certain drawback to thought in action. Acting with inhibition is weighty. It's comparable to our own bureaucratic system; we may act, but typically long after the time of its usefulness is passed. I cannot say how many times I have spoken too late, or not at all, and realized the correctness of my thoughts after the fact. But that is just the extreme of my own behavior, which I have known for some time to be a hinderance. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of first impressions in his book Blink. He explains how often time our first impressions can be just as viable than our long term ones.
But this is reassessed in the context that sometimes our first impressions are wrong. Sometimes snap judgments are clouded by situations we could not grasp, sometimes there is personal emotions that cause us to lack general good wisdom. It would be best to realize when these are present, and realize long-term judgement would be a wiser course.
I tend to subscribe to the idea of a "middle-path" in all things. I hope people are conscientious about their actions, that there is some small and nagging voice in the back of the head urging caution for the sake of overall good. But don't let fear of personal dejection subtract from the meaningful input you can add to the world. Haha, I'm kind of preaching to myself right now. Don't I know it's the truph though.