Friday, July 22, 2011

Agreement Is Exciting

Is it just me who finds agreement stimulating and exciting?

I ask this because I've noticed something in life that bothers me tremendously, something that I think is also reflected in the blogosphere and the Lankanosphere.

It's exemplified by this; I write a post like this one, in which I take issue with the content of another post by Indi and it generates a book's worth of comment and more debate, argument and generally heated discussion than you'd find in a barbecue showroom when it catches fire and they can't agree on whether they should call the fire brigade.

Much of that discussion is good though, certainly for me it has helped to learn, to understand viewpoints and respect where and why they originate. Much of that discussion is bad, as I also reckon that argument is fundamentally a counter productive concept. It has its uses but, as a means of solving a situation, of coming up with solutions and moving forward, it's pretty crap and ineffective.

Before anyone accuses me of being negative I'd like to tell you that I think there are better methods of finding solutions. The six thinking hat method, invented by Edward de Bono is one such example, something I've instigated in my company and has, in a very short space of time for us, had hugely positive results.

Why do I say this?

Simply because, in an argument, often people get so fixated and focused on winning their point that they take polarised positions and then fight for them. They do all they can to beat the other person, to win and therefore make the other party lose. And no one really ever wins and argument. If you win, you lose, if you lose, you lose.

On the other hand, I write a post like this one in which I agree with Indi, and it generates nothing. No comments and very little interest, though I'm assuming the bit about the interest from the non existent comments!

So I wonder. I find agreement to be genuinely exciting. I often feel butterflies when I talk with someone and we find areas of agreement. They're like little stepping stones with mini trampolines on them from which can spring forwards, hoping not to land on our head and break our neck!

But it seems that most of us prefer to have a good old fight, to try to gain the satisfaction of winning and forcing the other person to lose.

Does it get us anywhere though?

What do you think?


Jack Point said...

It is through debate and argument that we may discover the truth.

This idea was advocated by Socrates.

However, to be productive the argument needs to follow certain principles.

Aristotle developed the discipline of logic, proper arguments that conform to certain principles will always be productive.

A summary of the basic flaws in arguments, the polarisation that you speak of tends to flow from this, is below:

By and large the Indi's post and your response gave rise to a great deal of productive debate. I learned something from it, so I gather did Indi, Electra and yourself.

I had a dismal academic record in school, but one subject I learned passably well was logic, it was the only subject I passed in my A' Levels.

I might add that it was the single most useful thing I learned in all my wasted years in school.

Logic needs to be taught, compulsorily from grade 7 or 8.

I want to find an introduction to Logic to just go and sharpen my thinking a bit, its getting rather woolly.

Jack Point said...

And now I've gone and written another political piece, something that stemmed from a comment on your blog..

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

JP - I agree with you and Mr Socrates. And I also feel that debate and argument are possibly one )or two) of the least effective methods of discovering the truth. That of course assumes, that there is a "truth" to be discovered, when often there isn't a definitive one out there.

It would appear that many people did learn from reading different peoples' views on the blogs you mentioned. I just reckon there are ways in which we could have done the same thing more quickly, more effectively and more amicably.

Thanks for the comment as ever. I find the subject of thinking to be a fascinating and interesting one.


indi said...


It's just fun to say. Blogfights are always good for traffic, if not the brain. Respectful debate I think is always OK.

But yeah, positive posts generally get less traffic, like positive news. I think we still have to keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Though I love the six thinking hats I feel that sometimes there are few options but fighting for what you believe.

First of course there is talking, then talking louder, then yelling. Hopefully not followed by vase throwing and punching.

We argue because we passionately believe something to be right, to prove the other person wrong, and to change them in some way to our way of thinking. If you take the need to change out of the equation then maybe the arguments would be thrown out too.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Indi - I agree, but again I believe a fight is a very effective way of merely winning a fight.

Anon - I'm, as you probably know, a big fan of the 6 hats, but I do think that it's a way of mapping out and making a group do what most of us actually do in our head before we come to a decision on what view to take/preach.

The biggest issue with this "conventional" thinking, IMHO, is that it is almost entirely individual. We take other people's opinions and facts, to differing levels, into account but do the decision making process in our head. As a consequence we argue with less intelligent people who have done the same thing in their heads, but who haven't always considered things intelligently or in the way other people would have. The result is the "I am right, you are wrong" arguments we all know and love.

Your last sentence sums things up, wise words Anon, wise words indeed.