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Another idea! Had a weirdo idea this morning while I was waking up, so it made more sense in my semi-unconscious state (something about a sofa with printed conversations or arguments on it...?), and now I've been reading and doing some research on the differences of debate, discussion, and argument. Some of these differences are:

  • debate tends to refer to formal system of affirmative and negative rebutals
  • arguments are usually regarded as an angry form of conversation
  • discussion is essentially an informal debate and a more rational, less angry argument

An article on The Guardian from two years ago, discusses the importance and value of knowing how to debate. This is in relation to the practice of formal debate, but the argument still holds relevant in demonstrating the value of debate within contemporary society: "the confidence to speak in public, and make sense; the construction of a logical argument; the ability to read an audience’s reactions; and, perhaps most importantly, the willingness to hear others’ arguments, and to respond to them."

... the willingness to hear others’ arguments, and to respond to them.

Several weeks ago several of the cohort were celebrating the end of term after the latest Work in Progress show and eventually Moon and I got to discussing things. Moon always draws out my inner-most thoughts... She asked what I really want, what drives me to do the work I've produced and what question I'm always pursuing. I was just tipsy enough to give her the honest answer, my never-ending line of inquiry is "why don't people like me?" or rather, what is it that pushes people away?

This question is based in my personal experiences and I have always wondered why people seem so unwilling to participate in rational exchange of ideas instead of reiterating their own at louder and louder decibels. I said that night, and it's still true, that a lot of what I've worked on this year is in response to not feeling heard or comfortable talking with my uncle about his views. We haven't spoken in quite a while and ended on pretty sour note, not least because I couldn't let him walk all over me anymore and continue to have my voice go unheard.

 

Feel-good things to end on: 

  • This guy who says we should be more like cats if we want to improve our arguing skills (by practicing agreeability, knowing when to strike, and being adaptable)
  • Watched the film The Great Debaters telling the story of a triumphant debate team from an all-black college in Texas in the 1930s taking on prestigious white teams and winning
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