Let’s say I saw your sister out and about one day and I say to you, “Hey I saw your sister yesterday, she’s pretty fat.” You, being the loving sibling you are, honestly don’t think that your sister has gotten fat at all and respond by saying, “No she isn’t fat, your brother is fatter than her!”
This is how most modern arguments begin: One party makes a statement that is actually an opinion (because it lacks factual backing) and presents it as an absolute truth. The other party immediately gets defensive because someone else has challenged their idea of what is “True”. This sometimes results in personal attacks and statements that completely steer away from the original statement.
The situation presented above is one that has no standards set by either party because I (in the example) failed to present them and you were too emotionally blind to realize that I didn’t set them, so you got right to attacking me on the personal level.
Instead you should be asking, “What does that mean that my sister is ‘fat?’ Can anyone actually ’be fat’ or can a person only look ‘fat?’ Is fatness obesity? Or is that anything more than 200 lbs.?”
Because we have no clear understanding of what standards either party are using to evaluate the situation, the conversation at this point can go in a number of directions.
By this time, there is literally no control over the conversation or argument at all. The conversation can only be made topical again by someone who is rational, logical and willing to reevaluate this discussion from the very beginning.
Truths are all in how we as individuals interpret things. What statement may be true to some individual may be false to someone else. An argument should have the objective of establishing how we will interpret things in the discussion. If these terms aren’t established, then the two parties might never actually have a clash in their discussion at all.
Arguments should be looked at in terms of gaining understanding of a topic or issue. Instead, there is a common misconception that arguments are about taking sides and winning. Society, as a whole, does not truly know how to argue. We are blinded and split by sides, which only separates us even further and limits our general capacity of understanding.
Since most arguments today are just a rush of two or more parties that don’t have an understanding and lack clarity of their opposing side, this can sometimes result in over-aggressive, unhealthy and sometimes physical conflict.
This occurs when one or both parties feel threatened by the direction or progression of conversation or just can’t handle criticism.
These unhealthy experiences are rarely ever topical to the original argument unless one of the parties is threatened by the actual information or presentation of that information. If people adhered to having topical conversations and evaluations then there would be no need for such unhealthy conflict.
Personal attacks in the heat of a discussion can often times be too vague. Things like, “You’re stupid!” or “You don’t know anything!” are criticisms that can make an individual upset.
If you are one of these people, then you are vulnerable to harsh, vague, often times non-topical criticism that lacks reasoning. And if these personal criticisms are not topical, they are usually only said to trigger an exciting response from the person being criticized.
What types of criticism are you vulnerable to? Are you strong enough mentally to not be distracted in a conversation by personal statements that have no relevance? Or are you an individual that allows the person who makes a criticism with the intent to excite you actually succeed in doing so?
In addition, if you are one who gets emotional or negatively excited by those with generally opposing ideas, especially those that are vague, you are also mentally weak (especially if you are excited before even getting a clear understanding of the other person’s views or interpretations).
All words are metaphors and are an extension of you. Instead of trying to enforce your interpretations as universal law, you should instead set standards and be a learner.
Are you vulnerable to attack or is your mind stronger than that? Embrace the concept of not knowing and always be willing to completely change your viewpoints at any time.
If you want to know what I enjoy, do not ask me what is “good.”
Ask me about what I enjoy, and you shall learn more about me and how I see the world.