October 8, 2009
I'd like to follow up on Dennis's post regarding arguing. The word "argue" is itself very interesting. Derived from Middle English arguen which is from Middle French arguer meaning to accuse or to reason. It seems like in current culture we're living up to the accusation aspect and losing the reasoning. I too believe that being able to take a stance and justify that stance with reason and logic is a critical skill that we all need. When one is accused (of evil intent, of stupidity, etc.) for that stance, however, the discussion quickly moves from one with a purpose of clarifying and understanding to something very personal. The challenge, especially when we feel strongly about issues, is to keep the discussion from becoming an attack on personal identities. How do we maintain our passion and keep an open mind toward learning--at least understanding perspectives that are not our own? The lack of interest in understanding issues deeply is very troubling to me. Instead, I see sides accusing each other in very personal ways.