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-   -   Why it's good to argue, and probably even better when you lose an argument (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=121372)

TinyRedLeaf 2013-08-13 15:56

Why it's good to argue, and probably even better when you lose an argument
 
The upside of losing an argument and/or being wrong
Quote:

By Kate Torgovnick

(Aug 5, 2013)

My last fight came after, of all things, the movie Pacific Rim. As my moviegoing companion and I walked out of the theater, he said of Guillermo del Toro's latest, "That was awesome." I, on the other hand, thought it was just okay, managing to slightly elevate its robots-versus-aliens premise.

At first, we slightly disagreed. But within 15 minutes, my companion was declaring the movie a sparkling beacon in the tide of summer-movie sludge, a brilliant takedown of the destruction movie genre. I, on the other hand, was calling it everything that's wrong with cinema today — too much action, too much testosterone and far too high a body count.

Wait, but you had fun watching the movie, I thought, even as I railed against it.

As our discussion crossed the 60-minute mark, and my cheeks were fully flushed, I realised that I was no longer simply stating my opinion. I was positioning myself to win an argument, dismissing my companion’s points no matter whether I agreed or not. I was in this fight to be crowned the person most in the right.

And it didn't feel good.

This silly argument left me thinking: What is it about human beings that leaves us needing to be right, needing to get the last word in no matter what? Luckily, two fascinating TED Talks — one posted today and one classic from 2011– speak to the strong desire...and give insights on how we can break through it.

Philosopher Dan Cohen explained why the argument-as-war metaphor is so limiting: because it creates an adversarial relationship. It puts the focus on tactics (knock down your opponent’s argument) rather than real thought (do they have a point?), and shuts off the possibility of negotiation, compromise or collaboration.

Who is the real winner in an argument? According to Cohen, it's whoever has their worldview expanded. There's no reason that needs to be limited to one person. In the ideal situation, everyone in a debate could come out with a greater understanding.

Cohen's talk reminds me of Kathryn Shulz's classic, On Being Wrong. At TED2011, Schulz pointed out a related paradox — that while we all know that human beings are fallible, we are loath to admit when we ourselves are wrong.

And she explains that the need to be right simply keeps us from growing.

"What's most baffling and most tragic about this is that it misses the whole point of being human," she says. "If you really want to rediscover wonder, you need to step outside of that tiny, terrified space of rightness and look around at each other and the vastness and complexity of the universe and be able to say, 'Wow, I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.'"

And with that, I am willing to admit: I could maybe, possibly, be wrong about Pacific Rim.

TED
Daniel Cohen: For argument's sake
Dynamic tag cannot be rendered. (PrintableThread)
Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Dynamic tag cannot be rendered. (PrintableThread)

Endless Soul 2013-08-13 16:36

I'm reminded of the old saying "As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another." Debates (should) sharpen ones mind and develop character.

That being said, I lose every argument with Mrs. ES, no matter how wrong she is. Believe me, I've tried in the past, but now I just kind of sit there and nod my head when she feels like being in an argumentative mood. :)

Endless "I don't need that kind of stress" Soul

Rizare 2013-08-13 18:02

This reminds of the saying that you learn more from your mistakes. You fix them and the next time you do the same error, you are already prepared for it.

You have to learn this as early as possible or else you are stuck in the bubble Schulz mentioned.

LeoXiao 2013-08-13 18:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Endless Soul (Post 4792535)
That being said, I lose every argument with Mrs. ES, no matter how wrong she is. Believe me, I've tried in the past, but now I just kind of sit there and nod my head when she feels like being in an argumentative mood. :)

Endless "I don't need that kind of stress" Soul

Mrs. ES is Chinese right? You're in the same predicament as my dad. If you want her to accept something, wait until a few hours after the dispute to resubmit your suggestion.

Dr. Casey 2013-08-13 19:06

Arguments generally come with a certain amount of heatedness by default, and since I get stressed out very easily by that kind of thing I doubt I'll ever embrace spirited debate in the same way that others might (If I'm to exchange differing points of view with another person, it has to be done in a very mellow and nonconfrontational way for me not to get bent out of shape), but this article makes a lot of good points for whenever arguments or debates do arise. I know a handful of people that, once they develop an agenda, refuse to give an inch anywhere and refuse to admit anything that doesn't adhere 100 percent with their talking points. It's very annoying, and I try to avoid that by just being honest and calling things as I see them, even if they don't align with my 'side.'

Jan-Poo 2013-08-13 19:29

You know those guys have a point and what they say is nice and all but I'm not fully convinced that the attitude that they promote is absolutely a good thing.

I believe it is wrong to adamantly defend your own position at any costs but I don't think it's healthy to not try to defend it. Sure you might be wrong, but you might also be right and if you don't have a certain degree of confidence in your beliefs how can you even go on and live?

Somehow in the middle of those video I was reminded of 1984 and I think that the ingsoc would definitely love the idea of citizens having their minds well prepared to accept that everything that they have always known was wrong at any given notice.

In the end that's the first step to accept that 2+2=5

ChainLegacy 2013-08-13 20:39

I dislike arguments, but I can love a good debate.

I really had to learn what the speakers are suggesting the hard way in my early teen years. I inherited from both of my parents the deadly combination of being very argumentative, stubborn, and refusing to back down even when I know I'm in the wrong.

The problem was that I'm also someone who really enjoys a relaxed and mellow atmosphere and the two sides of my personality were in direct conflict; something had to give.

Probably when I was around 17 I really began to embrace the idea that an argument (though I prefer the term debate) can be an exchange of ideas. Neither side has to admit defeat necessarily, and you can still be intense in the defense of your viewpoints, but it's not a battle for victory. It's unlikely you'll outright convince someone of something, but you can plant ideas in their head if you give convincing reasons for why you feel a certain way. Conversely, you can really begin to appreciate other ways of looking at things.

I've actually had several virtual debates on AnimeSuki (all in General Chat) where I've been introduced to different and intriguing ideas from my "opponent". For an example, I recall that I once engaged in a debate with the member Ledgem (several years ago now) regarding smoking and whether it should be legal. He felt that smoking should be illegal and I took the opposite stance (based on my libertarian bent on certain issues). He eventually offered a compelling line of thinking that addiction can actually sap an individual of their ability to make choices, thus nullifying somewhat my enthusiasm for people to be able to make choices for themselves. He did not entirely change my mind, but that idea has stuck with me and I'd say my view on the issue is more nuanced today than it was before. I'm definitely not someone who fervently supports legality anymore - I see there are two sides to the debate.

Of course, there aren't always two sides. Sometimes, someone is just flat out wrong. In those situations, I guess it depends who you are conversing with. If it's someone who you think may be able to understand/accept your viewpoint if you support it well, then it might be worth pursuing depending on your passion level. On the other hand, if it's someone who just shuts down, employs personal attacks without any actual defense of their thinking, etc... Not worth anyone's time.

Now, this is more about "intellectual" or "bigger-picture" debates involving general subjects, broader issues, etc. When it gets down to a personal argument, some of the rules still apply, but I think those conflicts make things much harder to retain this dignified, academic approach. I know that I have trouble doing so, anyways ( though I try).:heh:

NoemiChan 2013-08-13 20:49

Arguments should be fun and enjoyable.. with a zest of jokes and sarcasm and should not be taken too seriously.... The aim is to make your opponent concede by overpowering them with words and intellect even though you knew at the very beginning that you were actually at the wrong side....

MeoTwister5 2013-08-13 20:53

There would be a huge difference between someone who argues to broaden their horizons, and someone who does it to fellate their own egos. Sadly I tend to encounter the latter more often.

MaeIB 2013-08-13 21:15

So debates broaden your horizons and arguments are more so about getting more people to think you're right.

[QUOTE]
It doesn't even have to be your opponent that you convince, it you have an audience then all you have to do is to get them to think you're right, then it doesn't matter what your opponent thinks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenjiChan (Post 4792716)
Arguments should be fun and enjoyable.. with a zest of jokes and sarcasm and should not be taken too seriously.... The aim is to make your opponent concede by overpowering them with words and intellect even though you knew at the very beginning that you were actually at the wrong side....

It doesn't even have to be the opponent who concedes if you have an audience, if you convince them then it doesn't matter what the opponent thinks.

NoemiChan 2013-08-13 21:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaeIB (Post 4792747)
It doesn't even have to be the opponent who concedes if you have an audience, if you convince them then it doesn't matter what the opponent thinks.

well, your also right... anyway... it should be enjoyable still....

Archon_Wing 2013-08-13 23:47

When you argue to express nothing by vindication or anger, then you need to gtfo and realize that there are more things to do than to win some petty spat nobody cares about. The only way to work is to set aside your ego, and to accept you will have to learn more about the world.

We all have a firm grasp on what we consider to be true. When someone poses something to the contrary, it may literally attack everything you know about the world.

So the problem comes when you're attempting to "destroy" this enemy visualization of the world, when obviously that's not going to be happen. Aside from holding a gun to their head, you can't change them with force. Well, people have tried in the past, and that's where a lot of bad shit happens.

Instead, it's necessary to develop a firm understanding of what you believe and accept that you won't be right all the time. A lot of times people fail in these things because they are afraid of what will happen if that are wrong. It's not really about convincing the other side. Consider your success being the impact it has on the outside observers. So don't be an insecure dick that thinks that the person that disagrees with you is a poopyhead that is threatening your way of life. Unless they actually are. It's worth treating your enemies with some degree of respect even if they don't offer the same.

In other words, please don't go in with the intention of proving your superiority to scrubs. That happens later.

Qilin 2013-08-14 00:33

I've always disliked using the word "debate". I always gives off the idea that there has to be a winner and a loser. It always felt to me like a clash of extremes where both sides attempt to impress whoever is judging on a winner. Of course, I know this interpretation isn't entirely true, but it somehow stuck.

In any case, I find that a lot of people tend to lose sight of the bigger picture when an intense discussion turns into a contest. For me, an argument is an valued setting where the interplay between different perspectives can be used to form a more holistic view. It's a simple melting pot thoughts, notions, and ideas. For that, all parties involved must be open to compromise, or else the exercise would be rather pointless. In fact, the individuals themselves might as well not exist anymore since it's the ideas themselves that have value. The ideal argument would be one where all parties come out having gained a wider perspective of the world.

Despite everything, no matter how much I pray that people turn into machines capable of distancing their personal feelings from arguments, it just won't happen. I myself often find myself dragged into the mood of an argument time and time again, not to mention being reluctant to admit faults directly in a heated discussion. Especially with our old friends confirmation bias (selectively clinging to views that coincide with our own), belief perseverance (stubborn tendency of a belief to persist even in the light of contrary evidence), and ego (which will conspire to protect one's self-esteem), arguments will continue to be treated as a battleground, even if it deserves so much more.

Ridwan 2013-08-14 06:23

Just stop being an insecure teenager. Things only get better after that.

Shay 2013-08-14 06:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by Endless Soul (Post 4792535)
I'm reminded of the old saying "As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another." Debates (should) sharpen ones mind and develop character.

That being said, I lose every argument with Mrs. ES, no matter how wrong she is. Believe me, I've tried in the past, but now I just kind of sit there and nod my head when she feels like being in an argumentative mood. :)

Endless "I don't need that kind of stress" Soul

Same here. I had to look up megalomaniac to appreciate what I am dealing with. No your enemy so to speak! Haha

LeoXiao 2013-08-14 10:26

I almost never win arguments, but I have convinced people to come to my point of view indirectly. The trick is to present your view in a way that isn't combative. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong even if they are.

Of course, there is always the type of argument that you enter and engage in essentially for the sake of fighting. These are a profound waste of time and energy, and even if you "win" the result is more often than not that the enemy has run away, not admitted their fault, and you are down however many hours and braincells you sunk into the affair.

SummeryDreams 2013-08-14 13:05

I have this quote over my mind for years and being used for my own benefits and others hopefully. 'lossing is a stupidity if you haven't learn anything, but it's better to lose than to win if you'll get a single learning out of it'.

NorthernFallout 2013-08-14 15:08

I'm so bad at debating/arguing I lose even when the facts are on my side.

I just enjoy others doing it, support those with the same view as me, and learn from that instead.

Ledgem 2013-08-15 19:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeoXiao (Post 4793255)
I almost never win arguments, but I have convinced people to come to my point of view indirectly. The trick is to present your view in a way that isn't combative. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong even if they are.

It sounds like you may be using a negotiating tactic without realizing it, if you're saying that you work indirectly. This is paring positions apart from interests.

For example, consider the debate over firearms. One position is that firearms should be made freely available to everyone in society, while the opposing position is that firearms are dangerous and should be outright banned. Of course, there are also dozens of positions in between the two extremes. Yet these positions all share the same interest: a desire for personal safety.

Finding common ground is necessary for being able to work together and to see eye to eye. Otherwise an adversarial relationship forms where both sides demonize the other, even though they have the same interest at heart. People speak as if the "other side" is comprised of aliens from another planet, when both groups are actually quite similar. Their positions simply take them on different, opposing paths.

A few years back I used to love debating on this forum. It was more than just comparing positions, it was almost like a verbal game of chess. Both sides would go farther and farther, trying to catch the other or tie them up. Some "trash talk" and insults would occasionally be interjected, something that likely wouldn't occur if the discussion were to take place face-to-face, but this was also part of the enjoyment. It was a game of wits, written presentation, and knowledge. I would imagine that many who entered such discussions with me didn't view it that way, but it was quite fun. It's too bad we don't have more of those types of discussions.

Jaden 2013-08-16 07:20

If I do get into an arguement, I try to be as detached and open as possible, but...sometimes using your charisma or authority or showing your passion for the subject is necessary to get your point across.

People also have varying degrees or principles where they're not willing to relent. Some things just aren't open for debate, and some people are too immature to have a discussion with anyone who's mind is not a mirror of their own. It's important to identify when this is the case for yourself or your "opponent" so you don't even waste time trying to argue.


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