Arguing to Argue

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The inspiration for this was a Facebook post by someone that was mildly political. Of course, it generated a response from someone else. Then, I happened to read something that presented a certain argument and the comments were full of bitter responses. In the second case, both sides could present data to “back up” their argument which is because, like many complex issues, the actual truth is hard to find or really doesn’t exist.

The older I get, the more I realize the futility and uselessness of engaging in arguments/debates with another person. So I don’t do it. My Facebook and Instagram posts are mostly pictures of the wildlife I see around the house and on our walks. I tend to mute those who constantly use their platform as a way of promoting their version of how the world should work.

In many of these arguments, there is no real “truth”. Truth exists in things that can be measured or quantified or are defined by certain formulas. To take a simple example, 2+2 is always 4. Now, you might think it is something else and if you want to believe that, then that’s fine. But if you have two apples and someone give you two more, you now have four.

Most of what we perceive as “truth” is our own personal truth based on our system of values and beliefs. But then too many assume that their personal truth is objective truth and, therefore, it should be broadcast and debated as often as possible. Of course, attempting to convince someone that their own values are “wrong” is only going to lead to anger.

And I find that often people are not interesting in understanding the other side. Because they are convinced that their own personal truth is the only truth, the other side must be “wrong”. So they argue rather than discuss and listen. It gets amplified through social media where you can create your own little bubbles where everyone believes as you do and that just makes it all the easier to believe that you know the “truth” and the other side doesn’t.

Then it takes another step further and you start to ridicule the other side. I mean how could they possible think that way. How could they be so “wrong”? Must be something wrong with them. They are not as virtuous or moral or smart as those of us who know the “truth”. Then you can mock their positions or misstate what they believe or call them deniers or other such names.

Values and personal truth can certainly change over time or due to life events. But I seriously doubt that much gets change because of the arguing that we seem to do. And when it devolves to anger and name calling, I believe that only gets people to dig in deeper and hold their “truth” closer.

Which is why I see it as useless and no longer have any desire to engage.

Although I’d suggest that there isn’t always a “right” and we are just discussing our own values and beliefs.

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