The problem with discourse (with John Doe).

Over the past couple of years, one of the biggest changes in my thought process is that I no longer want others to subscribe or approve of my way of thinking.

For example – maybe you look at an issue and find it alright, while I find it quite absurd. For example, the whole issue of how male athletes can just “change” their gender and play in the female segments and take advantage of their clear biological difference. Or, the issue of how Oglivy thinks it is okay to discriminate against influencers who use makeup while continuing to condone it with regular actors. There is a big chance that if you ask me to explain why it is absurd, I will not respond. There is an even bigger chance that I will remove my comment on it being absurd, and simply walk away.

If you ask what warrants that – the primary answer would be that it is tiring. It is extremely difficult to break someone’s ingrained thought process and bring them to reality. Ideally, it is something they should have done to themselves instead – so it’s an extra effort behind something that they haven’t themselves cared enough to do – which just sounds unfair to my time and effort. It’s unpaid labor to help the world for not much benefit other than the adrenaline rush that one gets when a stream of discussions ends in a state where the other party starts to point out your grammatical mistakes because they have nothing else to bring to the table.

But the reality is that it’s much beyond that. We don’t really need to agree is one part of the discourse. The bigger part of the discourse is that the assumption that people generally change their thought processes as more information comes by is fundamentally wrong on multiple levels. A big example of it is the case of flat-earthers. In spite of so much technological advancement and development in the field of mathematics – there exists a bunch of people who “agree to disagree” and think that we float on a tortoise’s back. A relatively large bunch of the world is still not coming to terms with vaccinations, the need for universal health, or even climate change – and that is proof that there will always remain a large number of adherents (to ridiculous notions) who are sincere, but unwilling to understand.

Now, you could think that it’s okay for one to agree to disagree with them, and to move on with life. And it might seem like a civil solution. But the fundamental problem with that is that the moment you agree to disagree, you come to the agreement that they could also be right, regardless of however ridiculous their proposition may be to start off with.

Setting aside our differences in the name of civility is just a pisspoor excuse that you can only use when disagreeing over the necessity of Pistachio flavoured Ice Cream (or similar problems). I mean, I agree that balance can only be brought once both sides to a debate can speak about why they like/dislike Pistachio Ice Cream, but it is via terrible laziness that you are refusing to resolve objectively (via a poll where the majority can finally shut off the production of this monstrosity) and agree that neutrality is an easier resolution.

But in reality – the problems are not so simple – and rather tend to hang between competing interpretations of established facts or divergent views on the potential impact of a certain problem. And when you are participating in a discourse about that – there is a big chance that you are arguing to win, and not to learn.

The issue with that is that while we assume that people generally act with the best intent possible – we refuse to recognize that their intent could also be biased, uninformed, unwilling to learn, and shut out to other thought processes.

And thus, I decide not to hear and filter all of those problems out instead.

Now, this is where the dilemma arises. If I refuse to hear other thoughts, disregard them, or walk away from a disputed ideological question – there is a big chance that I could potentially be trapping myself in my own thought bubble and filtering out anything that I do not agree with.

My understanding around this is that the only way to stay clear of this is to build a circle of mentors and thought leaders who generally display an air of openness to new ideas – and to only allow thoughts that diffuse out from them. Obviously, this isn’t a representative solution – but it ensures that you aren’t exposing yourself to every John Doe and trying to change them instead of changing yourself. Or in a simpler way: its better to find some brilliant people and listen to them than to hear out hundreds of people and measure each one out before deciding whether to absorb their ideologies or not.

Now, obviously – you could argue that this isn’t a wholesome solution, and finding a varied set of intellectually advanced mentors and peers is a massive undertaking that is a social nightmare. 

But you know what I am going to do to that 😉

Note: I think transgender athletes should only compete against other transgender athletes and thus maintain a competitive environment. I also think it is not okay to discriminate against the use of makeup, even if it is for a hypothetical good cause.