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Thread: Why We Argue

  1. #21

  2. #22

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    A lot of political sparring/tribalism today is arguing for the sake of arguing. There are a lot of divisive lines outside of conservative vs. liberal; there's tribalism that is ethnically related and economically inspired. That funnels further into "belief" divisions such as science vs. religion, and what is right vs. wrong.

    My generation is one brought up on social media. I see way too many politically-charged hotheads try to outdo one another with images of uprooted poor people, politicians with devil horns, impact font, etc. While the silent generation crafted the world with work ethic and Gen X with individualism, millenials' segway to success is predicated on conformity. In short, social media has really changed the flux of opinions, and the speed at which they gain in number.

    That all being said, I think it's a foolish jump to break the ice with anything political or religious. I feel as though a lot of people can't help but be shaped by their governing circumstances and if I were brought up in population-dense Tokyo with a liberal outlook and a vegan lifestyle, immigrating to the states in my adolescence- I would be an entirely different political presence than if I were born in Alabama, butchering my own breakfast, reciting the pledge in the morning, saying prayers at night, and spending my waking hours knee deep in livestock. A lot of people extrapolate political beliefs in a personal direction because where they cast their vote is melded into the fabric of their upbringing.

    A lot of flexible thinking is owed to the propensity of someone growing to change their perspective. Let's say someone moved up from impoverished farmer to established hand to business owner to corporate prince of Chickens Incorporated. All throughout his life, our hypothetical character has had arguments clustering in his ear, and recognized patterns of that the higher he "went", the more drastic the shift in opinions. Either one is a chameleon, keen on self-revision and bending with the tide of the majority or has anchored themselves to rigid beliefs since rational thought ever came to their fruition. Eventually, one cannot thrive in a political hemisphere not conducive to their own rhetoric. Either our character will decide that their environment is too yin for their yang or sacrifice their conventions for a little wiggle-room in upward mobility... It is hard to see what drives a perspective because no human being is an algortihm; but at the same time, any consensus draw will tell you that certain individuals from certain areas and ages are associated with certain beliefs.

    I am a forward-thinking individual and a lot of my thought-basis is geared not on judgement of external factors. If someone is Christian vs. atheist, trans v. cisgender, gay v. straight, liberal vs. conservative, I won't shape a portrait of opinionated leverage until I can have a heart-to-heart with an individual. Even then, I'm apprehensive to judgement because, I see people as a series of moments and decisions. I've been hundreds of people over the course of my lifetime. Keeping an open mind but a closed heart seems to be my baseline.

    My "personal" beliefs on the matter is conducive to the 'Great Filter' theory. That a civilization must win some stripes to stride out into the vast universe and humans taking on a global heating event is one such example. The nastiness of potential nuclear disaster is another. Why we argue, I feel, is hedonistic and if such matters persist; we and the generations we are presently fostering won't have the luxury to argue.

    In the spirit of arguing, as huge as my conceived personal universe may seem, it's a bunch of hot air to someone who disagrees. It can easily be closed down by someone who hasn't had the same experiential overlap that I have had. I can either appease my opponent my agreeing to disagree but once I'm in an opposing corner; I'm simply a bunch of "nos" to their "yeses". Most of it amounts to a lot of wasted time. Some people exist solely prey on others and to browbeat. And then there are contrarians that thrive on communication breakdown.

    Aside from arguing being instrumented as a tool to form rigid lines within our own circle, I don't feel it serves any constructive purpose. Creative arguing differs from fanatical madness, but a lot of rubs today are built on politics which is built on tribalism which is built on labels. This is all compounded when you take into consideration the special degree of narcissism and urge to conform that social media can breed. I mostly come into contact with mouthfuls of negatives. Unless it leads to something constructive, I normally won't indulge.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatherGoose View Post
    My "personal" beliefs on the matter is conducive to the 'Great Filter' theory. That a civilization must win some stripes to stride out into the vast universe and humans taking on a global heating event is one such example. The nastiness of potential nuclear disaster is another. Why we argue, I feel, is hedonistic and if such matters persist; we and the generations we are presently fostering won't have the luxury to argue.
    Trying to frame this in the context of the Great Filter Theory is an interesting approach. This is a new perspective for me, and I'm trying to get a handle on it. Some kind of natural barrier that limits the survival and expansion of life in the universe is possible, but I prefer to see it in terms of an obstacle that can be overcome. Four billion years of life evolving in step with the evolving environment can be explained as a mindless, natural, cause and effect process where life continuously overcame environmental obstacles in order to expand, but I think we may have reached a barrier to our continued evolutionary 'progress' that will require more than just a mindless process to overcome.

    I see diversity as being a perfectly natural and necessary result of evolution. I believe our current level of divisiveness is due to a combination of this diversity and our ability to express abstract concepts such as rights and moral values. While I see divisiveness as natural I also see it as an obstacle to the survival and sensible growth (in human terms) of our species. If we want to survive we need a way to deal with this divisiveness before we kill ourselves.

    Compromise isn't always possible and today's politics add to the divisiveness rather than reducing it. To put it in practical terms: we need a new way to settle our differences. I believe we (the majority of us anyway) need to agree on this point in order to begin the process of finding a way to settle our disagreements so we can deal with all the other divisive issues we haven't been able to settle.

  4. #24

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    I am fascinated by the fact that two different individuals can have totally different views and opinions on issues of the day. The idea that it could be genetic has always seemed a possible explanation. I googled Jonathan Haidt and found this interesting Ted talk he gave. Check it out. https://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_h...the_moral_mind

  5. #25

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    Thanks for the link, Ginger. The talk was pretty much a condensed version of the book.

    It makes sense that there would be a genetic connection since it's easy to assume many of our basic personality traits are inherited, and individual personality would have an influence on a person's political positions.

  6. #26

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    As one who is more likely to try and find a mutual interest and then building upon that to share why I may see things differently, this is an interesting topic.

    I am not one who runs from conflict. Rather, it fascinates me and I am drawn to it, as I hope to be able to find some resolve among the individuals or groups involved.

    All of us belong to some basic group with at mutual understanding. Even if it is just being part of the human family.

    If you stop looking at the differences in opinion and reasons for argument and instead look for the similarities and what you may have in common, the whole attitude changes around any given argument. AND IT DOESN"T MATTER HOW GREAT THE DIFFERENCE IN OPINION IN THE ARGUMENT MAY BE! If you back up and find where both parties come to a mutual understanding of each other, even if it is on the most basic of things, then a connection is made with the other party or individual.

    So say you are arguing over your beliefs in religion. That is a huge and powerful argument to be sure. So many wars and hatred and angst has been realized over this. Even here on ADISC among individuals who are supposed to be here to help each other. --But back up and put yourself suddenly in a situation where you are in a threat of survival say because of a hurricane, earthquake, or fire. You are now in a situation where you are with your neighbor who is of completely different religious views but suddenly you are in a life and death situation where your entire world is placed upside down because of an event that is entirely out of your control. A flash flood is causing destruction through your neighborhood and threatens to destroy all of the homes on your street. Your neighbor has a tractor loader and you have a dump truck. Are you going to say, I can't work with my neighbor to save my home and others because they have a different religion than you? Or are you going to work together despite your differences for a greater cause?

    My guess is that most people will see beyond their differences and come together in the united effort that they both share in, which is to save the community and mutually protect their homes and interests.

    If you can get people and groups to that level... to find out where they share in a mutual belief and interest, then focus on that, slowly building and growing to understand each other, then the things that people generally argue about becomes less contentious. Instead of hatred for someone because they believe differently than you do, there becomes a respect for the other persons views, because you have developed a relationship with them where you have found a mutual interest.

    You may not agree with them, but instead of attacking them, you may see things quite differently, as well as they. Instead of commenting... "Jake is such an asshole, he thinks that we should wear X, which is so wrong. Everyone knows we should be wearing Y:", the statements would be more along of, "Bless Jake's heart, he thinks we should be wearing X, but he's still a pretty good egg. Someday he might realize we should be wearing Y".

    By going back to the most common denominator, there is much less anger and more understanding of each other's views, even if we disagree.

    And... in so doing, it is much more likely that an agreeable solution can be worked out as we stop looking so one-sided at our own views and gain an understanding of other's views and realize why they feel the way they do. This opens the door for collaboration and compromise. ...Which some think is failure, as you are giving up your own strong beliefs, but I would suggest is actually the greatest of achievements as through compromise there is a solution without any individual party having to surrender completely the strong feelings and views they individually have. It is an acknowledgement that while the outcome is not exactly as you wanted, you have recognized that while others see things differently, their beliefs are equally as important as your own.

    Just sayin'



    TeddyBearCowboy

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeddyBearCowboy View Post
    If you can get people and groups to that level... to find out where they share in a mutual belief and interest, then focus on that, slowly building and growing to understand each other, then the things that people generally argue about becomes less contentious. Instead of hatred for someone because they believe differently than you do, there becomes a respect for the other persons views, because you have developed a relationship with them where you have found a mutual interest.
    I agree with everything in your post. I want to focus on this part because it has been a near obsession of mine for a couple of years now.

    With the level of diversity in this country it seems obvious we would have a high level of divisiveness. In other words, we should expect and accept this divisiveness as a normal, but unpleasant, potentially dangerous, outcome of our present situation. What is really tearing us apart is not the divisiveness itself, but the fact that we no longer have a reliable method to resolve our differences because we are overwhelmed by the sheer number of divisive issues we have. Relying on our representatives to settle these issues is no longer a realistic option because they, themselves, have been infected with the same level of divisiveness that plagues the rest of us. Unresolved issues become festering wounds that drive people nuts as soon as they are touched.

    We need to get past the blame game. Democrats blame republicans. Republicans blame democrats. Liberals blame conservatives. Conservatives blame liberals. Atheists blame religious people. Religious people blame atheists. Etc.; etc.. It's a very addicting game that interferes with finding common sense solutions. Can we all agree with all the above? ...i.e. that everyone's to blame? ( By "we all" I mean the majority; not as in 51% but as in overwhelming majority.) This, I think, is the first obstacle to put behind us.

    The next step would be to find areas where we, as you say, "share in a mutual belief and interest, then focus on that".

    Can 'we all' agree on the following?

    1. Our divisive issues are becoming harmful to the unity of the country, and finding common sense settlements is important.

    2. Congress and the Supreme Court eventually come to some legal settlements in matters, but legal settlements rarely settle divisive issues in the hearts and minds of the people.

    3. We need to agree on a different approach to settling our major differences, preferably without constitutional changes. We seriously need to answer, in realistic, practical terms, "What, if anything, can be done to settle issues in the hearts and minds of the people?"

    If we agree on these things I believe we can find a way.

  8. #28

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    HAHA Describing politics as a tribe makes a lot of sense to me. Just like how I tend to never fit with large groups of people I don't fit with the large group political stances either. I can see things I agree and don't within both and it always keeps me from fully committing one way.

  9. #29

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    I hate the thought of the U.S.A devolving into tribalism, as it appears to be doing. I don't see much chance for survival if we don't find some unity. It looks like we are going in the opposite direction.

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