The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Because I said so

The other day I was having an argument with a friend of mine. By argument, I mean a spirited, loudly defended, but always entirely friendly debate, as opposed to an ‘I hate you, I hate you’ sort of an argument. The actual subject of the argument is unimportant, one of many disagreements we have had over the years, mostly in order to pass the time. And wind each other up. What is important is the fact that, once again, I lost.

Not that he convinced me that he was right and I was wrong, but in the sense that, according to the rules of rational debate, he was way ahead on points. The panel of invisible judges ruled against me.

The problem I always come up against is the fact that he is so much more logical than I am. It is not that I am entirely without logic, or incapable of understanding it. I just don’t happen to think that it is the only valid method of approaching a particular subject. At least not one that concerns people. People contain far too many tangled social and personal histories, knotted neural pathways, and fluctuating waves of chemicals (both natural and artificial) to react entirely logically. You can accept the perfect logic and reason of a situation in one corner of your head, while every other fibre of your being is simultaneously screaming out to start throwing things. Or at least I can. [Hmmm, this may be the core of the problem. This is certainly not disproving our latest argument.]

In a society in which science and reason are the core of the dominant paradigm, it is not too difficult to defeat an emotive or intuitive argument with a logical one, but it is very difficult to defeat a logical argument with emotion or intuition. Because it begins to sound alarmingly like the sort of debate small children have with their parents, which degenerate into ‘because I said so’ or ‘because it just is.’ Or worse, the sort of argument which falls back on ‘because God says so’ or ‘because mercury is in the ascendant this month.’ I would like there to be a valid form of debate that acknowledges the often illogical and impulse driven nature of most human beings. Maybe it is only because, just once, I would like to win. I realise that this is probably buying into some dodgy, overly polarised, artificially competitive, unenlightened worldview. I don’t care. Because if there is one thing he does better than carry out a logical debate, it is gloat. Damn that’s annoying.


Post a Comment

<< Home