How to Deal with Adversity

Sometimes, Yours Truly argues just for the sake of arguing. Because Yours Truly is a bit of a dick that way. It’s not about what she *actually* believes in, perhaps, but she may just want to play both sides against the middle, or she may want to take an extreme point of view just to see how the discussion will go. This can cause Many Problems, actually.

There are some folks with whom I simply won’t discuss certain things, devil’s advocate or otherwise. There are some topics I won’t touch with anyone except those closest to me. I don’t think this is unusual.

Some of the folks I know are the sorts of folks who kind of always have to know the most about whatever it is we’re talking about. Of course, if you know me at all, you will know that I *claim* to be that person ALL THE TIME. And if you know me well, you will know I am usually lying about that. But I’ll still pretend. I like to pretend.

Sometimes, my friends just have to win. That might mean they end the discussion having changed your mind about something. That might mean they have “proved their point” irrefutably. This, I think, isn’t the point of debate. I mean, maybe it is and I’ve really missed something, but it seems to me that the point of debate is for both sides to bring interesting points or facts to the table, and to discuss an issue. It’s not about winning or losing.

I think maybe that’s what I’m really getting at. There are some things at which you can win or lose (a curling match, say), and there are some things at which you cannot win or lose (tic tac toe, social interactions, roleplaying games). We SAY “I win!”, but we are being gooves when we say that. What we mean when we say that is “I have really enjoyed myself. The activity in which we have most recently mutually engaged has caused me great happiness. In the grand order of the universe, I have defeated apathy, which is the bane of civilization. Therefore, I have been victorious in this small battle against the Abyss. Ergo, I have, in some small sense, ‘won’.” But that last bit takes WAY too long to say, and some people cannot properly pronounce ‘abyss’. So we just say “I win!”

My strategy, when I think the discussion has got to a point where one of us is just being a twit, is to be the *greater* twit. This basically means “I am done with this conversation. Let us move on to a new topic, or discontinue discussing anything at all for a great long time.”

I don’t know why this has come to mind today. Possibly because my Da and I were talking about politics this weekend, and that reminded me of another time I was discussing politics with a good friend of mine. And my good friend said some really asinine things, but I didn’t address the asinine things because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to cause my good friend to see the many ways in which she was wrong about basic facts. She had learned something in a certain manner, from a certain perspective, and it wouldn’t have mattered if I told her the entire history of her error (which was basically coined on a bunch of outdated rhetoric that has since been proved to be false information).

And it was obvious that she cared deeply about the issue. So anything I said was just going to cause an emotional reaction. Boy, do I know how that works. Another friend was chatting me up not long ago, and he mentioned his perspective on something about which I care very deeply. He was glib about his perspective, which is quite different from my own, and I instantly got emotional. So I said something ridiculous and excused myself, because even listening to him talk about it would have drawn me in to a discussion which I did not wish to have.

What you need to take away from this post is that I am always right and you must change your mind in such a manner that your opinion matches mine in order for me to respect you and accept you. I think that’s reasonable, don’t you?

 

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

5 Comments

  1. In terms of the “purpose of debate” from a sociological perspective, I think much of it really just comes down to establishing pecking order and hierarchy. Heh, I remember reading a tidbit on Cracked (take that as you will), asserting that reasoning skills seem to have developed in humans not for the purposes of coming to correct conclusions, but for arguing more effectively – it is better to be someone who can argue an incorrect conclusion convincingly than to be someone who is very good at coming to correct conclusions but who cannot easily impose their views on others. ;)

      1. I try more and more to force myself to re-center myself and actively try to see if whoever I am debating with might be making more sense than me and seek out opportunities to admit I am wrong but it is hard goddamnit. :)

  2. When it comes to roleplaying games, I say “I won!” all the damn time, and I don’t mean what you just said I mean. I mean that I succeeded at my IC goals, that I triumphed over my IC foes (whether PC or NPC). That is what I mean when I say “I won”. It has nothing to do with fun. I had a blast playing my vicious, hate-mongering preacher in Aftermath. I was unable to sway a single person to my cause, I died, and then my reputation was dragged through the mud by a doppleganger. It was a blast. I succeeded at my OOC goal, which was to *lose* spectacularly.

    But, then, given that you are *so* smart, perhaps I am wrong at what is going on IN MY OWN GORRAM HEAD.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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