goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Why Argue Instead of Doing Research?

Time and again we see hints that many people have lost….or perhaps never developed….critical thinking skills. We can blame schools or families, but once a person reaches adulthood, the choice is theirs.

If you don’t know how to cook, watch some cooking videos or read a cookbook. If you don’t know how to put together that IKEA desk, go to Youtube. If you don’t know how to research something, there are plenty of instructions available.

Yes, it is easier to learn something when you are young. But if you want to improve the way you present yourself to the world, you can learn new tricks. Unless you prefer to be stuck in place.

Example: one of my friends on Facebook has a family member who often joins in the conversation. I have been warned time and again not to bother interacting with him; that he is a troll. However, I come from a long line of do-gooders and I am pretty stubborn. I think almost anyone is redeemable…..if they show willingness to learn.

The thread got into Trump’s promise to bring back coal. No one contributing to the conversation had lived in West Virginia but since I had, and because I had had a meaningful conversation about coal with a mining engineer at one of my son’s cross country meets, I shared that exchange.

The information I shared is easily verified by countless articles posted to the Internet. However, the troll chose to tell me what I said was hearsay and he would just wait and see what Trump does to help the coal miners.

The legal definition of heresay fits, but the common definition does not. scan_20170303

Since we were not in court, why the hesitation to accept what I offered?  It took me less than 3 minutes to find and read an article from a reliable source about the causes of the decline in the coal industry in West Virginia.

He either had no interest in agreeing with anything anyone says or he has no desire to do research.

Either he enjoys his role of being a dissenter in the context of the Facebook discussion or he is unable to learn anything new.

He is only one of many many people who exhibit similar behavior.  Think of your own habits. Do you agree or disagree with something based on the information presented or do you bother to take a few minutes to research independently?

I consider my time on Facebook to be “free time”. In other words, I CAN step away from the conversation to actually verify facts. This is not work. This is not something that is particularly time sensitive.

But what you say and do is your face to the world. Why be a troll?

From Wikipedia: In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community  with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional responseor of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.troll-stupid
If a person chooses this behavior willingly, he certainly is not worth my effort to “teach”.


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Talk to Me

Can you talk so I will listen? Can you describe how you feel, simply and with facts? Can you do it without getting emotionally loud?

Most people can’t do that.

Most people never learned how to present what my 8th grade English teacher called a “persuasive argument.” In other words, how could we, as 14-year-olds, convince our parents that we really SHOULD be allowed to go on a date/wear make-up/take a plane trip by ourselves to visit Grandma?  In 8th grade that was the kinds of things we thought about.

Now that we are adults, we have other issues that press our buttons. Politics is one. As the candidates are beginning to throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Presidential primary and then election, we are already sharpening our swords and putting on armor.3arguing

STOP!!!

Let’s try to do something different this time. Since the powers that be (the people pulling the strings behind the scenes) have all the right to talk that their money can buy, all we can do is IGNORE them.

What a concept! And only good up to a point.

They will still be carrying on, even if we try not to notice. And we really do need to participate in the attempt to TRY to have a say.  So what is reasonable? What can we do?

First and foremost, we start by listening. Reading. Learning facts. For every candidate…not just the one or several you like. All of them. That is how you really know.

Read and listen without a chip on your shoulder. Be careful. You won’t like what you read but stay open enough to analyze carefully.

Remember to throw out anything about ANY issue or candidate if it is an editorial. Read only news. How can you know the difference?

News is neutral. It presents who, what, where, why and how. Nothing more. Nothing about how you should feel. No shoulds, woulds, coulds. Just the facts.journalism

Editorials are full of emotional leading. They are a pretty bad example of persuasive arguments. There is a place for that but not when you are trying to gather facts. Editorials will pull you to a position. They will appeal to your sense of outrage and maybe also greed.  But most of all, outrage. If you read something and it makes you angry, it was most likely an editorial.

Second, get into discussion with people who don’t feel the same way you do. Ask an open ended question. Then LISTEN to their explanation. Do not interrupt.  Do not get emotional. Ask more questions. Discuss. Do not get emotional. Yes, I repeated myself. It bears repeating. Do not get emotional. Stay calm in the interest to learn something.

Then you get a chance to talk. This is when you use persuasive arguments to present your viewpoint. No emotions. After all, back in that middle school example, mom and dad are not going to let you go to the dance with that guy/girl if you act like a baby, right? Show your maturity. Now is the time, to show your maturity as an adult who wants to communicate.  To understand, to help others understand.persuasive-writing-grammar-poster-structure-tools

Step by step, build your case for your candidate or position. Using sales techniques, get small agreements along the way. They still may not follow you to the final agreement, but the next time you talk you will understand each other better and it will make more sense.

If you don’t do this…read and listen, then engage in communication with people who feel other than you without emotion, then you are impotent……terribly communicationally impotent. What a shame. When it is something that can be cured and life would be so much more enjoyable.quote-intolerance-is-evidence-of-impotence-aleister-crowley-44879


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I Hate You I Want You Dead

This morning, as I scan my Facebook feed I see so much hate.

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Watching the news videos of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri reminded me of the riots following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968. Not much has seemed to change for people who feel powerless. And now the police are armed with military surplus, the better to control this kind of protest. Has there been unlawful behavior? Yes. Has there been inappropriate response by the police for peaceful activity? Yes. Is there something very fishy about the the issue that caused all this protest? Oh yes. And until the police come forward with the truth, there will be continued anger that will be displayed in a way that will cause additional turmoil.

Posted_Japanese_American_Exclusion_OrderThen I read an essay declaring that all Islam is evil and the writer will be boycotting all businesses owned by any Muslim and will be encouraging all others to do the same. While I am horrified by the ISIS activity and am angry about the way Islamic street protests in Europe and the US have targeted synagogues and churches, I am also deeply concerned by this kind of one-size-fits-all declaration of hate. It is the same emotion that hated all Native Americans and worked to kill them and then drive them to reservations, the same emotion that rounded up American-born citizens of Japanese heritage and put them in detention centers during WWII, it is the same emotion that restricted Jews from admission to universities and country clubs, it is the same emotion that holds Latinos and African Americans and all poor people as undeserving of equal opportunity.

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While Robin Williams’ death caused most people to realize we just can’t really understand the depth of despair that drives someone to suicide and we need to help people with emotional illness more, some people have attacked his daughter’s Twitter account with hateful words. While I personally, even in very stressful times, seem to be able to believe in my pathway through it all into a calmer place, I understand not everyone has that level of certainty. Why add to the turmoil?  What gives you the right to make someone who is already in pain feel worse? 

So much hate. So much “mine is the only right way” attitude. That is not be a way to healing. That is the way to more divisiveness.

imagine

I have a COEXIST bumper sticker….have had it for years. While not all people are deserving of a hand in friendship, most people respond well to an attitude of acceptance and tolerance. I welcome hearing your views, but can really only listen best if the strong emotions you may feel are explained calmly. If you feel strongly that your way of thinking about something is correct and want to convince others, present it in logical steps so others can understand your rationale. You may not get any more believers but you will have communicated, not just ranted.

And stop choosing to hate…..we all have much more in common than the minor differences that seem to be more apparent. Look for those commonalities to rediscover your own humanity. And, really, in a world where so much is beyond our individual control, the ONLY thing you have 100% control over is your attitude.  And realize, if you choose the path of hate and support restricting civil rights to others here in the US, you are on the pathway to a kind of right wing totalitarian society, similar to what allowed Hitler to grow in power. Is that what you truly want? your ACTIONS show YOUR choice.attitude wordle


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Learning to Argue

From Merriam-Webster

ARGUE

intransitive verb

1:  to give reasons for or against something :  reason <argue for a new policy>

2:  to contend or disagree in words :  dispute <argue about money>

transitive verb

1:  to give evidence of :  indicate <the facts argue his innocence>

2:  to consider the pros and cons of :  discuss <argue an issue>

3:  to prove or try to prove by giving reasons :  maintain<asking for a chance to argue his case>

4:  to persuade by giving reasons :  induce <couldn’t argue her out ofargue

Perhaps I am not the only one to notice that the last few years people are very angry when encountering an opinion that is different from what they hold dear.  The most common response seems to resort to name calling and using words that only inflame the situation.  The second most common response seems to be retreat, like “unfriending” someone on Facebook merely because their viewpoint on one aspect of life is not aligned with your own.

Way back in the dark ages, when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher had us prepare a series of speeches. The primary purpose was to help us get more comfortable talking in front of a group of people, but the different assignments had other goals as well.

I don’t remember all the issues we had to address. One was to present a travelogue and I was lucky. My family had been taking vacations around the United States since I was 3 years old and I had a lot of slides to pull to compile a  speech that showed some highlights around the country. My dad let me keep the collection and it is fun to see some of the people and places that made an impression on me.Miss Rivera

The most important speech, however, was “Persuasive Argument”. Most of us presented points we wish we could make to our parents about letting us do something they had already disallowed. Age appropriate, of course.550px-Persuade-Your-Parents-to-Let-You-Wear-Makeup-Step-4

But all of us can learn to “sell” our viewpoints if we wish someone to hear us. When I became a real estate salesperson I was trained by my broker to learn to accept the “no” because we will hear many no’s before we have a “yes.”

I got better training when working for a financial adviser. There it was called “overcoming objections.” For that to work you HAVE to listen, let them talk, while keeping careful notes of what their issues are. Then, point by point, address each one, calmly and rationally, until they agree. Then the next. Then the next. As you gain the small yes to each point, you end up persuading them to your side of the view.

From Merriam Webster

PERSUADE

1:  to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action

2:  to plead with :  urgepersuasive-writing-techniques