The Lost Art of Adult Discussion

I love exchanging ideas, thoughts, and opinions with people!
The absolute most useful question is, “Can you explain why or how you developed that idea?”.
Nowadays, it seems that that question is considered as an ‘assault’ or ‘insult’ to many.

Read it again, and ask yourself, if there’s anything wrong or dangerous about the question?

Yet, that question separates the intellectually honest from ‘immature’ actors.

If that question, elicits a compilation of links and YouTube videos, you may just want to graciously move on. The person obviously hasn’t thought about the concept enough to use his/her own words.
If that question, elicits an opinion portrayed as a fact, moving on is also recommended. Opinions are good but have little value in critical analysis.
And, if the question, elicits a challenge to your intelligence or integrity rather than any rational ‘ideas’ in the person’s own words, move on immediately.

The best method in conversation is to always explain what YOU believe and avoid telling others, what THEY should believe. (Actually, if you think you’re (or anyone else) is the authority on what every person should think, you’re automatically too immature to have an ‘adult’ exchange with.)
The second method, is to find samples of things that they’ve said that make sense and tell them you agree. Even if you think their premises are flawed, make an effort to tell them “You’re not alone in that.” or “I know many other intelligent people who say that.”. Then, offer your oppositional facts or opinions. At this point, the ‘adults’ will wonder about your evidence. The immature will likely talk about ‘information sources’ or say “get educated”. You likely should tell them “Have a nice day.” and save your breath. Being called ‘stupid’ ruins any ‘adult’ conversation.
Be advised, ending the discussion is what many ‘immature’ intellects actual want. They enjoy whatever conclusions they have made and find questions uncomfortable.

Obviously, the best sign of intellectual honesty is an absolute willingness to amend your opinions based on well presented arguments and new factual information. Anyone who suggests “I’m correct and you’re not.” doesn’t have enough integrity and humility to talk with.

We used to have debate assignments in grade school. That was an excellent training for making well-thought arguments. I don’t believe that the public schools teach that any longer. Sadly, the number of ‘adult’ conversations have suffered for that. I only know a handful of people who realize that disagreeing is not an assault but a request for more conversation.

I really want to know what others’ think. It helps me challenge and amend how I think. Testing our opinions either makes them stronger or makes us change them. There is no place for conclusions in Science or Public Opinion.
IMO… we’ll remain hopelessly divided until people, in general, ‘grow up’. I’m not holding my breath but have learned how to save it. 😉

5 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Adult Discussion

  1. Dora 06/06/2021 / 2:09 pm

    Susan,
    This made me think of Proverbs 26:5 —
    “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
    That is to say, judge your audience and speak accordingly which is my takeaway from your insightful discussion.
    Just read a post on Darwin’s legacy historically that speaks to how much “Science” can be mangled for social/political purposes, like eugenics and genocide.
    https://alawyersprayers.com/2021/06/06/the-tragic-legacy-of-darwin-part-2/
    Pax,
    Dora

    • Susan St.Pierre 06/06/2021 / 2:12 pm

      Thank-you, Dora!
      I love it when commentors enhance my posts. I’ll enjoy your link, I’m sure.
      Blessings,
      Susan 😊

  2. cheriewhite 06/14/2021 / 8:39 am

    I couldn’t agree more, Susan. A person who attacks your intelligence or sanity, or if they get angry and throw a tantrum when you voice a different belief, isn’t worth having a discussion with at all and really shows their lack of intelligence. Show them the door, fast, because you will never be able to have a healthy discussion with them. These types of people are bullies. Thank you so much for posting.

    • Susan St.Pierre 06/14/2021 / 8:52 am

      Thank you very much, Cherie! It warms my heart that you took the time to read and post your comment. Glad to hear others are just saying “no” to nonsense. 😊

      • cheriewhite 06/14/2021 / 8:55 am

        You’re so welcome, Susan. I’m seeing that more and more people are rising up to nonsense, and in today’s world, wisdom is sorely needed.

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