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An educational challenge

April 5, 2013

I had a very interesting discussion this week with someone I didn’t necessarily agree with. This is possible through many means of communication, but variably difficult depending upon a few factors; what rhetoric someone uses, their dispositions, the level of emotional investment they have into the subject, etc.

It’s something I’ve done before, and every time I’ve met with a striking amount of success. Perhaps because it relies on a strong sense of personal effort. I want to challenge others to do the same; but don’t worry, it’s quite simple.

Just ask questions.

Find someone you disagree with on something and just ask them questions. Don’t counter argue, don’t charge your responses, don’t provide contrary evidence, don’t make accusations, don’t use sarcasm. Simply ask questions, more questions and even more questions.

This provides interesting insights into the minds of others. You get to learn what they think of a subject, how they have learned about it themselves, exactly what they know about the subject, why they think the way they do, etc. It often provides additional information that would have been otherwise unavailable through debated discourse.

It also disarms potential accusations regrading your motivations and assorted commentary. After all, you’re merely asking questions right? What kind of position doesn’t appreciate questions? One you shouldn’t bother discussing anyway.

There are also many positions that intentionally misconstrue the opposing position (hello politics). So either you accept the bias given your affiliation to it, or you begin to realize that you are being lied to. Well… maybe you’re being lied to, maybe the others are being lied to.

I’ve been privy to a few confessions regarding people’s concern that if their ideological cohorts knew they were asking questions of the opposition, they would be cast out of the fold. To which I only ever had one reply… if your position actively suppresses open inquiry, why do you hold it?

I have never received an answer. Which merely begs more questions.

Indulge your curiosities. And consider sharing your results in comments. I welcome them.

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From → Argument, Education

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