All Roads Lead To The Mushroom Cloud

1 02 2012

I was on a debate team once. Briefly.

It was back in my school days. The earlier ones. Those they call “High School”, where the mornings are early, the days are long and nobody reads because they want to. With exceptions of course. It was a brief stint into an activity that I had great interest in and enthusiasm for. Sadly there was other muckity muck going on at the time and I was unable to press on with it.

It was something I was excited to try and even though it didn’t last, I’m glad I had the opportunity to taste it. I learned a great deal. Let me lay it out for you.

  • There are at least two sides to everything.
  • Arguments and debates are not the same beast.
  • Charisma trumps fact.

There you go. Three courses in the delicious wordsmithing meal that is debate. You just got “bulleted”. HIYA!

Now you may be asking yourself, “Where can I find iodine and a compression bandage for this bullet wound?” Others will say, “That’s just three not so specific bullet points. You should elaborate!”

To the first party, quit your whining you should have seen the list coming. If someone points their word cannon at you like that, something deep inside that animal brain of yours should say “Oh my God, a word cannon. I should move.”

To the second group of people who clearly listen better than the first I say OKAY!

The World Is Multifaceted

It’s no lie. Think of any dispute that has ever arisen between anybody. Anywhere in history. There is, 99% of the time, always at least two camps involved. Two trains of thought careening toward one another in a fiery, flaming, hot ball of…fire.

The Earth is flat. The Earth is round.

Eggs are good for you. Eggs are bad for you.

We should be less concerned about actually putting pants on everyday. I want to wear my underwear on my head.

All valid points. At one time the general consensus was that our homey little ball of rock here was not a ball at all. It was later disproved but it led to some chaffing debate. The egg business? I can’t keep up with that nonsense. I feel contradictory research is published yearly. And hey. Pants at our place…totally optional.

Bottom line. We don’t all step to the same tune here. My metal guitars are noise to the average Jug player. Be mindful that our views are our own and they are far from universally shared. Plus maybe yours is the one that’s not so right.

The Zebras And Ponies Of Discourse

Debates and arguments are similar. Similar. At the surface, to the uninformed, they seem the same. But there are two very different sorts of people, each ending up involved in one or the other.

An argument is the sort of thing you see amongst small children and most politicians. Well to be fair, all children argue, not just the small ones. Arguments at their core consist of little more than parties with opposing views shouting at one another without any consideration for one another, or willingness to potentially concede a point.

Debate on the other hand is a process. You can look at it, at it’s most basic, as an argument with a purpose and some civility. Debate offers point, counterpoint, development and conclusions. It is not the senseless chatter of an argument. Debates are the matured cousins of arguments. They seek to arrive peaceably and amicably at a solution.

The Serpents Greatest Feature

I think this is true about con men. They sound convincing and the successful ones can really talk you into things like a time share or a stupid, freaking bridge in the middle of a stupid island that doesn’t bloody well exists!

I’m sorry, give me a minute. Bad memories…

Ahem.

It’s the same thing that elevates a great many dictators to power. Some do it by force. Others through charm. And they sway nations. You get the point. People, being easily directed, particularly in groups, are more ready to accept what they are being told is truth as opposed to what they may actually have witnessed.

Look at governments around the world. Throughout history. You can dress lies up really nicely and as long as you maintain a suave style and eloquent tongue, you’re golden.

I don’t know why I started thinking about it. Maybe I smelled something that set it off. Scents do that you know. Make you remember stuff. Right.

Oh? The cloud? That’s right, I did mention a mushroom cloud didn’t I?

A man I knew offered it up as a suggestion to my partner and I. Always have two arguments ready. The one that you think you can argue strongly, the one that you have confidence in winning and the back up. The back up of course was the argument that suggested not siding with you would lead to nuclear war. Most people aren’t ready to argue against nuclear war and no one really wants it to happen so the opponent would be crass if they argued against.

Yes. The nuke argument was used.

Shush.

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