Honestly, one of the most enjoyable things that I can do in this world is to engage in a good argument. Having sex and eating are pretty much the only activities that compare. If you can combine all three then what you’ve got is a relationship founded on solid rock. Good argument is a sign of intelligence, which is the sexiest thing on earth. Nobody wants to argue all of the time, but the occasional argument is like sex that’s just a little rough, it’s a good release for the mind, an exquisite mind f**k.
Engaging in argument is the most effective way to change your own mind. Who cares if you change the other guy’s mind or not? Agreeing with someone is not particularly beneficial. It’s nice to have a brain break sometimes, so enjoy it. Just don’t get stuck there. Agreement cements viewpoints and reinforces paradigms. What’s wrong with that? Well, one thing that history has taught us is that our paradigms are wrong. Yes, right now, today, our paradigms are wrong. A long line of experience with teachers like Jesus, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein has taught us that what we currently believe is wrong. Of those listed, the first was killed and the third was severely tortured because those in power couldn’t tolerate an argument, and there are many other examples. Rational argument is expansive. By defending his position against detractors, Einstein made ever greater discoveries and improved his own mind.
Not tolerating argument is a sign of weakness. It demonstrates an insecurity, perhaps even corruption. Experience teaches us that corruption often resides with power. Voltaire famously declared, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise,” or in other words, who will not tolerate an argument. Another possible reason that someone might not tolerate argument is an over-indulgence in emotion. Let’s face it, unless you’re Vulcan or a sociopath, we are all emotional creatures. However, the human species is homo sapien, meaning “man the wise.” Therefore, we have the hardware to engage in an intellectual conversation and we ought to use it. To be truly human, we must develop it.
Now suppose that you do care about convincing the other guy. That’s persuasion. Persuade with facts and good reason. I realize that some people like being told what to think. I do not! I’m going to assume that the person you’re trying to convince cares to think for him-or-herself. To such types, a person who cannot defend his-or-her position with a good argument looks like a fool. I have been a fool before. Guess my favorite tool for overcoming foolishness. That’s right. Argument. The worst kind of fool is the one in power over others who demands a certain belief, attitude, or action without building a rational basis for it.
Don’t be a fool. Pop a bottle of wine. Get into a good argument with a friend. Take it to the kitchen and turn it into something delicious. If you’re friends with benefits, then you know, you could eat it off of each other. A friendship that can’t withstand a full-on shouting match is a friendship you’re better off without, maybe. But what do I know? If you disagree, I’d love to argue with you in the comments.
Photo credit to Chiltepinster (here)