Winning an Argument
Winning an argument is so important to most people that they will revert to childish behavior and name calling in an attempt to gain strength and superiority. Reverting to this type of behavior not only shows the idiocy of the opponent, it also removes the civility of a discussion into a kind of low life war that is based only on shock and ill intent. In order for one to live in a civilized society, it is incumbent upon all of us to choose our words and battles carefully and to insist upon statements based on evidence and not hearsay.
Politics appears to be an arena where people are divided by the inability to come to any kind of consensus because according to Professor Jonathan Haidt, we are wired differently in our brains. Add to this an inability to discern truth from fabrication, as evidenced by many politicos, we have the insufficient basis for making an informed decision. This does not seem to get better in our society, it actually seems to be more strikingly worse due to technology and the inability people have in communicating due to their inability to articulate in any kind of educated fashion.
Society would have us "dumb down" our way of life in order to meet the ever strengthened necessity for us to be stressed out due to the overabundance of machines we have to keep up with in today's world. It is much easier to call someone a name than it is to think in a rational manner and to act in a respectable way. By attempting to fire another person up by instigating hate and anger, the other has the propensity to have a knee-jerk reaction, instead of a proactive stance in answering the call of the other. Instead of acting in a rational manner, we often take up the gauntlet and begin to fall to the level of the instigator, irrespective of the sense it makes to do so. In this way our calm and caring demeanor takes on the character of a Jekyll and Hyde character, and as our blood pressure rises, we realize the only person we hurt is ourselves in this ludicrous exchange of ire.
Formidable opponents who strive to allow for agreeing to disagree are few and far between. Instead we find people staunchly dedicated to persuading us that we are somehow failing in our intelligence, in our ability to reason and our connection to real world resources to make an informed decision. Arguing for arguments sake becomes more important to them than finding a peace of mind that offers a respite in a world full of malcontents who spend most of their time willingly stirring the pot. For many people winning is everything and the process is neither a game or a debate, but a full fledged war.
As I age I realize that the chance this will ever change in my lifetime is nil. Perhaps that is why I sequester myself in a hermit-like fashion and work to stay away from the fray, as the danger of laughing far outweighs the fear of failure. It is not important to reach the goal if the journey is riddled in heartache and embittered traveling companions. It is much better to take the trail alone, or with the companionship of an animal, who neither criticizes or threats, who is ever happy to be by your side and with whom you can sing a song off-key if the mood strikes.