I love to engage in discussions, mellow or ferocious, about many things under the sun. While some folks are logically coherent like a calculator, some seem to be blatantly unconcerned about any rationality. Yet, arguing/discussing the right way is a cornerstone of critical thinking. It defines the way you think, shows your depth of opinions and is a reliable indicator of how flexible you are and how much convinced you are of your own beliefs. Not giving sincere thought to major life questions is tantamount to a ship without rudder drifting aimlessly in the Pacific. Being in contact with fabulous people and discussing issues freely with them is one of the best ways to grow intellectually; say one logical helping hand is equal to a half a dozen books on the subject under discussion!
Whack-whack doesn’t mean you need to have a verbal imbroglio, at least always. The beauty is in tapping the collective intelligence of the group, and really picking up the alternative ways of thinking. The parties involved should walk away with a greater understanding of the topic after an argument, and that is all that matters. I respect people who are willing to logically defend their opinions while also eager to listen to a counter-argument. There is definitely something fishy about a guy who never disagrees. And after all that hoopla about thinking out-of-the-box, it surely is fun having a healthy discussion with people around, and no wonder it is a rush to deviate from the standard banality and get to know the person for real instead of conversing with the usual dumbed-down version on public display.
They say that in some cases, you can either win the argument or the person. There is a good chance that once in a while (eh!) you’re being an asshole and deeply inclined towards proving the other guy wrong instead of harboring nobler intentions. Whether you call it a debate, a discussion or an argument, the point is to get smarter; to successively have a clearer lens through which to view the world. Contrary to the popular perception, it can be a win-win scenario if both parties agree to some of these ground-rules. (This is easier said than done, but who cares?!)
- Don’t Insult. It is OK if you are convinced that the average intelligence of a group goes up if you attend, but you need to stay polite. Arguments don’t need to get personal, even if you hate the person for publicly insulting you for having a comparatively lesser salary, or pointing out your height for that matter! (If you are a Ninja/Wrestler/Political Honcho, this rule does not apply.)
- You need to listen. The entire argument is pointless if you refuse to listen. You already know your viewpoint, you need to listen to the other one. There is a reason that we have two ears and a single mouth.
- Avoid distractions aka Topic change mat kar! It is really important to stay on topic, as people tend to deviate from the original one once they realize a flaw in their own argument. It seems a smart way to dodge the bullet, but know that you have been shot in the arm and you will bleed, then you will die.
- Keep your emotions in check. You might want to hurl a flower-pot at someone at some point in a fit of rage. As a law-abiding citizen, don’t let the argument get bloody. Moreover, you will likely come across as an arrogant fool.
- Know when to wrap up. Discussions are a bottomless pit if you don’t know when to end. Don’t struggle to get the last word out, howsoever tempting that might be. You don’t need to paint the whole world with your wisdom, just yet.
If you’re still hell-bent on winning an argument, you surely need to be more creative. For instance, make up exact numerical figures on-the-spot while boasting of made-up references. Better still, use relevant words (or better yet, jargon!) to show that you’re not a novice. Feign drunkenness if things go out of control so you can apologize the next day. If all things fail, accuse your opponent of having a streak of Adolf Hitler.
You’re free to disagree with me (I’m joking). And please do comment and share your views freely (they are moderated, of course!) 😀
Posted by: Rohit Gupta