Saturday, December 12, 2015

All I Do Is Win

Today I want to talk about an issue that has been bugging me for a while. It is a certain mentality people seem to have when trying to have a discussion or a debate over a topic. All too often people will discuss a topic as if it is a competition of my idea vs your idea. Whoever gets the most points wins! GO!

Discussions about different topics are not competitions. You don't get cool points for beating the drum for your favorite political party, religious group, girl scout troop, Godzilla fan club, etc.. Discussions are for learning what other people think, sharing your thoughts, and evolving your opinions. You might not agree with someone's point of view, but is that necessarily the end of the world? Nope, we're still here. The One Direction zombies haven't destroyed us all yet.

Winning

I have had so many conversations lately that involve a logic that defies all matter of common sense. It is like these people decided that green is really pink and clear is really purple, but didn't bother to tell anyone else. If I didn't know better then I would say they were trolling to get an emotional response, but they genuinely seem to believe what they are saying. It is as if facts and science are thrown out of the window if they cannot be bent to personal bias.

I call it the Trump Effect. As long as someone never admits that they are wrong then they can continue to say whatever batshit crazy thing pops into their head in order to "win" the argument. Never admitting that they are ever wrong means that they never make mistakes, they never learn, they never change their opinion on a topic no matter what evidence is presented. These people believe their first impression is the only one worth listening to.

Vague promises of being correct help to support their argument, but evidence never seems to materialize. When you press for proof all you get is more hot air. Trump himself claims to be really really smart as if that is proof enough that what he says is true. I will never forget when he claimed that Mexico is sending murderers and rapists across the border. Trump claimed that he had undeniable proof of this. When pressed for the information he claimed that he spoke with some random person at the border who told him that was what they were doing. He wasn't even able to present the person who he had spoken to or give their name. It sounds like Trump made it all up, but he would never admit to that.

Competition

Not everything is a competition. It is not always us vs them. The us vs them mentality makes it impossible for people to evolve. Mistakes are how we all learn and grow as people. Refusing to admit to mistakes stunt that growth. A fear of losing the argument leads people to sacrifice their mental growth. What do we really gain from winning these arguments though? There is no trophy. Other people are not going to change their mind as a result of these arguments. What is the point?

Rather than arguing these points as if they are a competition we should take the opportunity to try to reach a common understanding. I have been involved in many arguments where I could understand why the opposing argument was valid for the other person involved, but it was not valid for myself. These things happen sometimes. This can be true when it comes to discussing religion, political candidates, the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, etc..

What we can't do is to distort the facts in order to "win" an argument. When people do this no one really wins. Spreading falsehoods cause more people to become misinformed. If you are going to put forth an argument and present it as fact then please fact check what you are proposing. If you see someone else doing it then give them evidence to the contrary.

Conclusion

Winning is leading a community towards making things better for others. Winning is making the world a better place overall. Winning is not pushing falsehoods and a close minded approach on others. When debating a subject on the internet try to reach a common understanding. You can't expect everyone to bend to your will. You also can't expect to be taken seriously if you make stuff up to prove your point.

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