DL Fowler's Blog

SYWS – Do Your Own Homework

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, Psychology, Research, SYWS by DLFowler on November 13, 2011

Here’s the difference between an argument and a discussion – in the latter all participants did their own homework. Arguments turn into yelling matches because at least one person is defending a position they don’t fully understand, something unsupported by facts and rooted in emotion. 

I think (I call this speculation, but if I get too vested before I research the notion, I’ve got good fodder for an argument) the problem became pervasive with the invention of objective questions – multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false. From there it evolved to don’t explain the problem, just give me the answer. 

At one point we got all our opinions from the liberal media. Today both sides get brainwashed (thank you ‘fair & balanced plus talk radio for evening the playing field in a game where everyone still loses.) Hey, if a talking head can mold my brain, why do I have to put out the effort to think?

So the risk in arguing is that everyone could be wrong. But in a discussion there’s value added by each contribution.

So the next time some one wants to think for you, just say no (okay, ‘no thank you’ if your mother’s tuned in.) After all, that simplistic slogan won the war on drugs, right. 

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