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How to argue

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Ever been in an argument that just went in circles?

I sure have. I was in a few over the past month as well.

The thing with these arguments is that they’re pointless, it’s an endless pursuit to find out who is right, not what is right.

Paul Graham has a lovely post on how to disagree and my interpretation of this has always been in relation with how to argue.

This post is in many ways my starting point to understand to have better, more constructive, civil discussions ( read arguments ) with people when it happens without moderation.

One of the reasons I don’t have a liking for structured learning is that it boxes you in and enables you to operate only when that structure exists. Chaos is the natural state of things, order is forced. If you become trained in an ordered environment, chaos will appear chaotic and new, it will also make you appear sterile. It you train yourself in chaos, chaos will appear normal and new, which is a significantly better state of things.

I’d been a bit of a nerd, especially when it comes to debating, and not in a good way. I expected a certain order or set of rules to be followed but, that isn’t the natural state of things.

I’ve been reading quite a few books of late, and one book in particular has some very interesting points to make with regards to conversations.

It’s a book called Never split the difference, I wrote about in my reading update for last month. It’s an interesting read that doesn’t preach (ugh) or do moral posturing. It addresses the world as is and suggests tactics on how to have more productive conversations.

Even though the ultimate goal of the techniques prescribed in the book is to get to figuring out who is right ( this might just be my interpretation of it ), I think they are malleable enough to implement in discussions to figure out what is right.

I’m going to try putting this into practice over the next few months, I’ll also be on the lookout for any new concepts in this regard. I’ll post an update on this in some time.

Thanks for reading