Argument Ain't About Being Right

Argument clarifies belonging.

Argument used to be about winning and finding truth.  I wrote about this yesterday.

Now, no one wins.  But argument isn't an excercise in futility.

Argument serves to demonstrate which tribe you belong to.

Think about it.

In presenting your position, you communicate your side, where in the continuum you lie, which community you stand with.

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Try to find my house.  Good luck.

Head south on Davie Rd (not Davie Blvd) or north.  Unless you're coming from the East, in which case, if you hit Davie Rd, you've gone too far.

I live in a particular house.  It's not the biggest or nicest, but clean and organized and full of people I love. 

Knowing which house I live in has value.  A value for me.  A value for anyone coming to visit.  The folks at 6130 SW 42nd Place look friendly, but knock on their door and they may not serve you dinner.

Clarifying position.

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Now, you might think argument is a lousy way to clarify positions.  Argument used to be about convincing people to change positions, right?

But we can clarify by negation.  By pushing back against your position, I figure out where I stand.  Think landmarks.  Fences.

When you argue trying to convince with someone trying to clarify, you embrace futility.  Argument puts people in a place to resist convincing.

You've been there, right?  You find yourself losing an argument - maybe even thinking you're on the wrong side - but you hang on.  You hit a place where every point for the other side deepens your entrenchment.  Your self-awareness catches this, but you can't stop it.

Argument rarely moves people. 

Hospitality.  Friendship.  Tragedy.  God.  Sure. 

But not argument.

What, then, is argument good for?

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