Monday, November 29, 2004

Peace and Understanding--How Boring

When it comes to discussing especially touchy subjects like politics, I have found that there are two ways of approaching things. The first method could be described as "peace and understanding." It's where each person participating in a discussion carefully listens to or carefully reads what the other has to say. Then, they respond in a thoughtful manner, carefully explaining their opposing position. They do their best to understand the other. A good example of this method can be found in this article that asks the question: "Why Can't Liberals and Conservatives Get Along?"

The main problem I have with this method is that it is incredibly boring. It's "blah-de-blah" vs. "blah blah de-blah." Not only that, but no matter how hard you try to be courteous and considerate, someone is still going to get their feelings hurt, because they just don't like it when people disagree with them. Believe me, I've tried this method many times. It gets really draining when you put a lot of time and thought into responding graciously to someone and they respond by either blowing up, changing the subject, or just plain ignoring you.

Therefore, I have found that the second method is the best. I will call this the "mercilessly mock them" method. Scott Adams summarizes this approach well:
As you know, the best way to solve a problem is to identify the core belief that causes the problem; then mock that belief until the people who hold it insist that you heard them wrong.
That is more like it. Think about it. If the person you're at odds with is just going to become offended anyway, why not at least have a little fun in the process? No, this method is not "effective" at "resolving conflict" or coming to a "mutual understanding." But really, what technique is? Realistically, nobody is going to change their beliefs about such emotionally charged topics, so instead of wasting your time trying to convince them, just mock them.

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