I’m right and you’re wrong
I’m big and you’re small,
and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Want to shut down a conversation? Here’s a pretty good way to do it.
“I disagree “
One of the most overused words in english must be “discussion”.
Discussion is when one person opines and the others wait for their turn to interrupt and say “I disagree”.
Discussion is about winning and claiming sole right to truth – and if we can’t do that positively we undermined the ideas put forward by another, and if that doesn’t work we undermine the person putting forward those ideas – and their right to even have an idea worth hearing in the first place.
Disagree and discussion are like evil twins in some fairy tale.
Discussion reduces every conversation to a competition: the word actually means to strike the winning blow or argument- usually in a debate: which in turn means to take the life out of an idea- literally to kill the other idea.
Discussion and debate is verbal jousting. We win a debate by striking blows- we call them arguments. Listen to any televised political debate for commentators looking for “winning blow” or ‘fatal blow” or “killer blow”. If we can’t make our idea seem the strongest by logic and facts we turn to undermining the other idea. In debate there can be only two ideas – and they must be set in opposition so that one must win.
It’s like some one, some time, won some big debate that there is only one way to have a conversation and henceforth all human interchange will be in the form of verbal jousting and conversational violence.
Disagree and Discuss are oppressive, a way of thinking that may even be the very roots of oppression themselves – if not then they certainly feed and nourish it.
Yet, it seems we are condemned to only discuss- strike the winning blow – every time we put forward an idea.
Is life in this world reducible to two ideas set in opposition so that one must be killed in order for the other to win?
Do we have to kill one idea before we can share another ?
Does one idea only have validity if all others are put down?
Do we have to disagree with an idea in order to have an idea of our own?
No, no, no and no.
We can simply share our ideas.
We can have a conversation with a centre but without sides.
Conversation means talking – or versing- with. If you’ve been talked to or talked at, and you likely have, then you’ll know it doesn’t much feel like talking with.
Talking with is at least as much about listening as it is about speaking. We have, after all, evolved with two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Listening takes more than just looking for the next opportunity to interrupt.
Listening takes more than looking for factoids or opinions with which to agree or disagree like we’re some and/or, right/wrong, agree/disagree gate in an electronic logic circuit.
Listening takes more than simply seeking data to confirm what we already know or believe.
“I disagree” is a very effective way to shut down a conversation – and a very good way to leave the person who just shared an idea feeling small and invalidated.
“I disagree” is not necessary to have or introduce an idea of our own.
“I disagree” says: “I’m right you’re wrong”
“I disagree” says I don’t have the balls to have an opinion without first undermining yours.
“I beg to disagree ” pretends to deference but lacks the balls to even say so.
“I disagree” always says: “I’m not listening”.
Real listening is when we suspend our judgements, work to hold ourselves open: open and willing to change or to be changed by what we might hear.
Real listening isn’t much about ears but more about holding ourselves open to the universe.
Real listening is hard, takes energy and compassion.
I don’t make any claim to be a good listener – I don’t believe it’s something we can claim for ourselves – but I have learned to become better at listening, partly by trying this I learned from Daniel Seigel:
“If you want to learn how to really listen
I suggest you try to listen with your bones”
Dr Daniel Siegel
You could try it too, it’s kinda fun, and when you learn how I think you’ll find it’s hard to disagree.
- Knowledge and power and lifecrap https://recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/knowledge-and-power-and-lifecrap-michel-foucault/
- Letting go of should https://recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/letting-go-of-should-encore/
- A whole chorus of someones https://recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/a-whole-chorus-of-someones/There is no should
- There is no should – Yoda https://recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/there-is-no-should-yoda/