April 28, 2010

Time Wasters: Arguing

Buon giorno. I like an argument as well as the next guy. No, not the kind that we have now, with put-downs, contradictions and vindictiveness. The kind I like is the "classical" argument, with presenting positions, proofs, rebuttals and the like in a structured environment. These are stimulating and have intellectual value.

It is indeed unfortunate that those have to be scheduled and do not happen spontaneously.

Modern arguments are a waste of time, especially in certain situations.
  • With the boss
  • With the police
  • With your spouse
  • With your children
  • With your spouse's children
And so on, and so on...

The worst argument is with Satan. That's right, you heard me, Poindexter! What, you think you've never argued with the devil? Well, when you know what is right and you talk yourself out of doing what is right, that is one place. Another is when someone is trying to convince you to do something that you know is wrong when you already know what is right.

In Perelandra, by C.S. "Jack" Lewis, a woman is being told to go against an edict. The man that is trying to get her to go against her instructions is badgering her on and on. She's engaging in the discussion instead of ending it. That's how you lose arguments! I have seen people lose to their children and to Satan (sometimes, it's both in the same body, capice?) because they keep the discussion going.

"What happens when you keep going, Uncle Bob?"

Glad you asked.
  • Your resistance is worn down
  • You get confused
  • Your opponent gains time to think up more arguments
  • You lose sight of your original purpose
  • You forget that the whole thing should be simplified, you need to stick to your principles and obey your conscience (God's leading)
In other words, when you're trying to do the right thing, do it! Don't discuss, rationalize, make excuses or whatever. You know that's right, so do it! Don't prolong the discussion with useless arguments. Stick to your values and do what is right.


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