People arguing

Why you shouldn’t try to win an argument. #8

There are so many videos on YouTube, teaching ways to win an argument. To say it bluntly, its gnarly to try to do that. Do you remember the debate competitions your school used to organize. Against a class section, girls vs boys, teachers vs students, your school vs the one whom you lost the football match to. At least my school did, and the ‘toppers’ used to join these debate competitions, with a badge made out of cloth, I forgot what they are called. P.T teacher calling them out in the last class for the debate. I was so jealous that they won’t have to fry up their brains in the boring classrooms. And so were all the others. The rivalry was visible and one could only assume the opponents preparation on the topic. You know what’s stupid, at least I used to find it stupid, one group was given the job of defending and one to oppose. It still drives me crazy how some knuckleheads think, that its the best way to teach kids how to speak.

Lets dive a bit deeper. A topic is given to the students, and the roles on the topic have been assigned to the students. One of kids finds that supporting the topic’s idea is better than opposing it, well he is screwed, because it is a debate, the kid has to create a wall of ignorance to the fact. Because if he doesn’t and loses his mind to the opposition on the debate day, he is going to lose and be called a loser. Debates don’t solve anything, nothing. Look at the late night debates, those are a good example. What happens there? No results, just a few people ready to cut throats so that their idea may remain.

Yes, a debate makes people articulate, but the way it does so, especially to learning kids and students, is regressive . It teaches people to use straw-man, witty remarks at the opposing team, even if the person knows he is wrong, he just has to be clever enough to land on a remark so that the audience may clap and shut the opposition. In a debate one has to, yes, has to ensconce on a view and defend it. He/she can’t change, no, why should they, they’ll lose if they do so. So what happens, wrong ideas with clever people win and right ideas with meek representatives lose, scale that up and you’ll get a community full of pervicacious people ready to doom whatever in the support of their ideologies. Because they aren’t taught to change them if they are wrong. No nation solves its international or national conflicts by debating, its always by sitting down and having a discussion, negotiating, compromising, that’s how we humans have survived for this long.

Worse things emerge from this kind of thinking, people now have pushed this norm into personal lives. Couples try to win an argument, why this car is the one to buy, why they should live somewhere else etc. When you win an argument, congratulations, you’ll from then on live with a loser you created. Winning doesn’t mean being right, discussing things makes the progress. Look at the divorce rates, in so many cases, people argue that their partner never listens to them, does what he/she wants. They talk about it, but you know, the other one just wins. This attitude of clasping our ideas with our life and not thinking over the possibility of it being wrong. Not being brave and strong enough to accept that you were wrong. Burying yourself in confirmation bias. Being taught that you have to defend what you think to be true, rather than find the truth will doom us all. Maybe I’m not able to project clearly the idea I want in this blog and will make a couple of follow up blogs, going into the details of how to have an argument, to get results, good results. But right now, I’d want you to stop being a headstrong and rethink your beliefs in certain areas, love, education, sports even, areas which you feel need to be looked into, especially the ones in which you have to coexist with another being.

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance. ” – Robert Quillen

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