Pic of the day: "You don't get it, do you?" -They never do.
Flee debate like Hell
Back when "Smith's Friends" was a rather small group of unregistered Christian mystics, they had a saying from their famous writer Elias Aslaksen: Avoid all debate like the plague, or like the fires of Hell! I largely agree with this.
Not long before Internet came to Norway, I was a regular on a network of small BBS called Youthnet. We had a lot of discussions. There I stated my hope that in the future, there would be another form of exchange than debate: A form where each participant started with what they agreed with, and then extended it, rather than focusing on what they disagree on and then combat it. Because the truth is that we often agree on a lot, and having to focus on only the small disagreements cause needless antagonism and negative emotions.
My dream came into existence and was called Wikipedia. But I had no hand in its creation and rise to stardom. That is fine by me. What matters is that it is done, not by whom. I doubt I could have done anything like that without getting mightily puffed up and feeling very important, anyway. It is all I can do to not feel very important even when I only do small everyday things.
On radio, it seems common to have debate programs, at least here in Norway. In these they find two people with opposing views. Ideally at least one of them is tottering on the very edges of sanity. A bad temper or previous enmity doesn't hurt either. Then they have these people debate the topic they disagree on, and often take calls from listeners as well. I would suppose they screen these calls to get extreme views if possible, and then they try to rile them up with questions or statements intended to provoke. This is considered great entertainment. To a higher-level awareness it is a lot like getting retarded people to sing songs they don't quite remember for the entertainment of the listener, or make them fart into the microphone. Sure, it is entertaining to the easily bored, but it is a cruel and demeaning thing to do to a human soul who for some reason cannot quite help itself.
Does "debate" increase the circle of light in which a human soul walks? Does it lead to deeper understanding, more empathy, working better together with others? No, it builds trenches of war so deep you may never get out of them.
Far more useful is a quiet talk with someone who has the same goals and values as you, but a different life experience. This can actually stretch your soul to see further and clearer than before. But to seek out "enemies" and provoke them does not make you grow, and it does not make them grow. It can cause strong emotions, but those are not even good emotions. You don't eat poison just because it tastes strongly. Why should you do it to your mind?
"Good men do not argue." -Lao Tzu.
Actually I don't mind if people say to me: "My experience is the exact opposite of yours." In fact, I sometimes say that myself. But what happens next is typically: "Then your experience must be wrong!" "I know what I have seen, and it is nothing like what you claim!" "Are you calling me a liar?" and so on. If I believe that I face that kind of argument, it is better to not even begin.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.