Here’s today’s question:
Is it possible anymore to disagree without being disagreeable?
This has become a course of recent study for me. I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to have longer, more productive, conversations with people who have ‘strong’ opinions.
By strong opinions I mean they either present their argument with an unflappable conclusion or seem to attach their whole identity and virtue to their opinion. Both are dangerous to react to and are better avoided.
The former precludes there will be little ‘wiggle room’ in the area of open-mindedness.
The latter insures that, at some point, the person will perceive any questions or disagreement as a personal ‘assault’. (The topic won’t matter anymore, it’s your ‘tone’ that will become the issue… and so on.)
There’s one more area where people have lost the art of civil discussion. There’s oft a rarity of a sense of humor-particularly the ability to poke fun at oneself or a tongue in cheek use of sarcasm.
Deadly serious discussions are doomed, IMHO, because humility isn’t welcome there. Without humility, each person appears belligerent to the other.
We held debates when I was in middle school. That exercise would be exceptionally valuable today.
My direct answer to the question is: If you can find a genuine, well-informed, person with an ounce of humility, to talk with… yes. They’re just harder to find these days.