Friday, June 01, 2012


It's a podum. Yes, I do my own illustrations. Blame coppyright laws.
I was reading through some of the old posts and comments on this blog today, and I was struck by how argumentative some them are. When I read through them, I started asking myself: "what's the point of these?" Sometimes I posted something just to start an argument, someone would rise to the challenge, and we would, essentially, restate our own arguments a few times before the argument died out. I remember the same cycle from the days of forums when I would argue with people just for the fun of it. Now I look back and ask "why? what was the point?" The only thing I can think of is that I enjoyed it.

I realize now that all I was accomplishing with these arguments was to get myself and others worked up over hot-button issues, without any real progress made to figuring out the truth, or even really figuring out what the other person believed. I still enjoy talking about hot-button issues, but now I want a discussion, not an argument.

In an argument, everyone talks, but the only listening that goes on is listening for holes in the arguments you don't agree with. In a discussion, you listen at least as much as you talk. It is about finding out what others believe, and putting your own beliefs under the microscope. At the end of any good discussion, you will have refined or changed what you believe.

This may be kind of ironic coming from a trial lawyer, but I think that a trial is very different from the kind of arguments I'm talking about here. A trial has a purpose, and a decision maker. An argument doesn't go anywhere or accomplish anything.

 I suppose I am advocating for more discussions. I believe that you can have a discussion about any topic, even with people you don't agree with - you just have to be open, listen to what the other person has to say, and be willing to let your own beliefs be challenged, refined, and changed.