When it comes to discussing ideas and making intellectual progress, attitude matters.
From Suave Guy in response to: How Do We Discuss Passionately Held Beliefs with People Who Hold Conflicting Beliefs with Equal Passion?
The problem with most people I observe is they don’t possess the right attitude when it comes to discussing ideas and making intellectual progress. People are more interested in finding others that share the same beliefs, pushing their own beliefs onto others, or boosting their own egos.
This is something that I’ve noticed for quite a while and with such severity that it harms our ability to progress as a society. In that respect, it’s very rare to find who I’d call a “truth seeker”, but as written up in one of the posts on my site, these are the qualities that I look for in people that I engage in discussions with:
– whether they have integrity
– whether they wholly listen to others
– whether they articulate their points well
– whether they see discussion as collaboration more than competition
– whether they preserve harmony in a discussion
– whether they use logic and reason
– whether they are aware of logical fallacies
– whether they provide sources to credible material
– whether they value methodology over conclusion
– whether they are detached from their beliefs
Some of the above points are more important than others, but when I see people that clearly don’t possess a few of these traits, that’s when I start to know I’m wasting my time.
I wish more people embodied these traits above so that we can all be more enlightened with much less frustration.
Lastly, the essence of debating may be the hope of changing someone’s mind, but the underlying assumption that we look at discussions as debates rather than collaboration is one of the things that impedes on intellectual progress. This is important because debating and collaborating have two very different objectives.
The main difference between debating and collaborating is that in debating, you aim to convince rather than find truth. This results in things like, if you make a flawed argument, you keep quiet and let your opponent find the flaw of their own. This is not authentic intellectual progress.
Photo: jon collier/Flickr