I got in a few screaming arguem…er, um, civil debates this week over such things as religion (truth…or global Ad campaign?) and the effect of statist politics on the rights of citizens to view the information they want (Comcast gobbling every internet provider on the planet)…as we’ll as virtue and what things are dangerous to it (hint; virtue doesn’t exist). And, looking back at the “debates”, I have a few thoughts that I’d like to share. I know, please step off that ledge, it will be short(ish).
Something that I noticed in all of the arguments is that people tended to provide facts or evidence (regardless if they were (or weren’t) either fact or evidence) that apparently they knew by heart. I mean, no one stretched toward a vague concept or something that they were barely familiar with to support their positions. They talked about things they knew. They used debate points that they had heard before…and that got me thinking that…
…people find what they look for.
To bolster my argument and to try to make my point I too used information and talking points that I had experience with, that I had previously researched and found. I used things that I had looked for…not necessarily things that I just happened to find.
And that is the point.
We have social and political ideas that we constantly seek to validate, to verify that they are accurate, so we’re constantly searching for answers to do just that…validate what we already know. We have these social and political ideas and models because they were built into our brains as the result of a billion different variables; our home environments whether we were encouraged to learn, to reach…our school environment and whether we were bullied or allowed to be different…our social world apart from those two…a billion more.
By only ever finding what we are looking for, we only listen in order to refute and be “right”, only read responses in order to write our counter responses back so we’re not “wrong”…we only argue to increase our internal awareness of what we already know. Rarely, if ever, do we synthesize what is being said into a coherent and combined idea because in those debates it is all toward winning the argument…
…not to learn.
But right or wrong is immaterial—when there is nothing learned—because without learning we are stalled, stagnating and soon to be dead. Brain dead, consciously dead or even ambulatory with a dead conscience (think politician). Without the constant care and feeding of our souls—through gaining knowledge and understanding (that is brought by knowledge)—we die in some small way…but we die nonetheless.
So…next time you’re in a screaming argume..um, civil debate, don’t think about finding what you’re looking for…
…but what you find when you’re not looking.
Believe. Go. Do.