I've been a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king; I've been up and down and over and out, and I know one thing; each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Ever Happened to the Art of Discourse?

What a boring world this would be if we all agreed and we all had the same beliefs. But what I am finding more and more in American culture is the lost art of discourse and discussion. The idea that you can have firmly held beliefs (or maybe not so firmly held beliefs) and you can have an intelligent, thoughtful, fact based, common sense like conversation and maybe not even come up with a conclusion or answer.

You would think with the invention of first Friendster, then MySpace, and then Facebook, you would see this type of discourse blooming even more. Alas, all you get are these chest thumping idiots who are quick to call anyone who wants to bring up a different point of view of being a bully, a socialist, or any other fill-in-the-blank term that is meant to be derogatory. While the demographic seems to fall into 3-4 very similar categories, I have noticed 2 other demographic categories that seem polar opposite. So I am not comfortable to say that it is only a specific group that follows this trend. It just seems to be people from all groups.

For example, If you post a picture that says something like, "when you eat meat an animal was killed so you support murder," I am going to post links showing that science shows the human body as being omnivorous and other links showing how people who have went vegan and such have ruined their bodies and have done real medical harm. Now, I know that person could come back and have some valid examples of people who have gone all vegan and have had huge medical success. My one token in my belt is they can not take away my scientific omnivorous argument. But, we can have a discourse. Do I really plan to 'win?' No, but I want to make sure people are seeing that there can different sides to every story, every thought. 

Another example. For a week or so, I saw all these people (some quite shockingly very supportive of President Obama) sharing around how he spoke poorly about small business. Some said it was a slip of the tongue and maybe he should have stayed on the teleprompter. Others were outraged and used it as proof he was un-American and hated small business. None of this made sense to me. Having no TV access, I went to my valid and reliable internet sources to see what was up with this speech. I found the transcript of the speech and saw nothing that was against small business. I actually thought it was a nice speech about how we were all interconnected to each other and we all had someone (or many) who inspired us to achieve, and he even mentioned teachers. So then I began to wonder if he was misquoted. It is election season. Low and behold, I found several articles on how Fox News and Romney misquoted the speech. Actually they spliced together certain sentences. Then it made sense. Those splices did make it sound like he was anti-business. But people acted like sheeple (sheep/people) and did not do their research. 

So I promptly started correcting people and trying to get them to read the transcript of the speech and look at the info about him being misquoted. A lot of people did. But of course, there were those who pounded their fists. Maintained that I was wrong. They didn't need to read anything. They heard it on Fox or CNN or Rush or where ever they get their stuff. He is a bad president. They knew it from day one. I don't care what you feel about someone, but if you are given false information wouldn't you want the right stuff. Even if you hated him? I would. 

And there have been other examples. Which has led a couple folks to get very very angry with me. I have since been called a bully, socialist, commie, union thug, bad teacher, worse than I was in high school, crazy liberal, stupid, uninformed, misguided, etc. All because I wanted to have a little discourse. To flesh out what someone was really thinking. But because I choose to poke at them with some facts that went against what they were saying, they could not stand up to their arguments. I became the bad guy. The bully. I just wanted to hear what they had to say up against what I know to be facts and figures. I even said that. It was not good enough for them. 

Since I have caused such harm to them and they continue to call me names, I have taken the liberty to block them completely. I usually don't to necessarily to this because I like to see lots of opinions and beliefs, but this total disregard for discourse gets old. I have an irony board and when I pull it out, I irony people into Flat Stanleys. The irony here is that they were the ones to add me on the Book of Faces. 99% of the time, I don't add people because I don't want to be responsible for someone getting offended by anything that I may say or do. So here they were getting offending and could not take the same initiative they did to add me to then remove me. Of course, like always, I have rectified the problem. 

Please folks, bring back the art of discourse. Discussions. Remove your emotion from a topic and pick and poke at it. Look at the other sides. Play devil's advocate. You will work your brain in a manner you never thought possible and be a happier person! Trust me! Sometimes it is called High Level Thinking.

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