How We Disagree

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If you take a good look around you and take note of our beliefs, laws, taboos, policies, and actions, you may find that much of it doesn’t make sense at all. We cling to beliefs that have nothing to do with reality and deal with things we don’t like in ways that usually make them worse. Yet, if we examine these things, and strive to make sense of them, we’re considered crazy. Well, call me crazy, but I think it’s time to start making sense!

 

There’s a lot of political, religious, sexual, racial and other divisiveness in our society and most of it is based on complete irrationality. However, instead of accepting differences and trying to find ways to deal with the fact that people are different, we try to enforce various versions of sameness, and get all kinds of pissed off when people don’t comply.

 

It can be something as simple as a disagreement on a blog, forum, chatroom or YouTube. The rational ones, the ones that make sense, will either politely disagree while citing facts that back up their position without invalidating the person with whom they disagree, or they will simply agree to disagree. The senseless ones will insult, berate, ridicule and blame. They’ll tell the person they’re going to hell, or that they suck, or how many ways their mom was banged last night. While sometimes funny, it’s usually the tactic of those who aren’t smart enough to use facts, or the facts just aren’t on their side and they can’t admit they’re wrong. Or, maybe they’re just stupid and immature and this is their knee-jerk reaction to whatever doesn’t fit snugly into their comfort zone.

 

One might say, “So what? What does it matter if someone says some mean things, are you some kind of pussy?” Well, if it were something that was rare, and only a scant few individuals carried on like this, then it wouldn’t really matter and I’d agree that people should grow a thicker skin. I also don’t think we need to be politically correct all the time and walk on eggshells. There’s a balance. We should just be reasonably civil. The fact that this kind of callousness is epidemic online, in TV, on the radio, and everywhere we turn is a problem, because it makes us stupider.

 

People tend to emulate what they see and hear around them. Notice how catch-phrases from celebrities spread like wildfire. Instead of being creative, most people just parrot what they see and hear whether it’s from a sitcom, a talk show, the news, movies, religious shows, and especially the political pundits who are generally so small-minded and irrational that they make the entire nation stupider for having heard them.

 

I think that pundit shows on TV and radio, whether they lean left or right, are the worst thing the media has ever broadcast. The hosts tend to do nothing but lay blame on the opposing side for every problem there is while finding zero fault with their own camp. When a guest makes a good point, they use every evasion tactic they can think of, whether it is character assassination, changing the subject, or simply insulting the person. Unfortunately, people emulate this and you find these kinds of reactions all over the internet. People have forgotten how to have rational, sensible discourse.

 

Now, the occasional joking insult can be funny as hell, but when it completely replaces rational communication, it’s a problem. The solution?

 

First, realize that it is stupid and that by emulating this behavior, you make yourself stupider.

 

Second, guests on the shows should immediately call the host on his or her tactics and expose them. Don’t let them get away with it.

 

Third, those of us on the internet should do the same. Call people on it and name the tactic they are using to avoid the point. Expose them when they change the subject, or fall back onto insults or blame rather than addressing the point with facts. Don’t fall into the trap of being baited into various tangents and red herrings. Stick to the point!

 

Furthermore, avoid using such tactics yourself. I know how tempting it is, but if you maintain your integrity, then the people who use such tactics will simply show their stupidity. Remember that they are unlikely to ever admit when they are wrong, so sometimes it’s just a good tactic to let them think they’ve won and just end the conversation. Maybe you can even state it outright: “Ok, obviously reality and the facts are beyond your comprehension, so enjoy your fantasy world where you’re always right.”

 

If we can strive to make more sense, and not let stupidity and irrationality prevail, then we help make the world a slightly better place to live in. And shouldn’t we be helping each other do just that? Makes sense to me.

© 2015 William Suphan

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