Does any good come from contradicting someone's reality? | INFJ Forum

Does any good come from contradicting someone's reality?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Satya, Sep 28, 2009.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Every individual has their own reality. I now wonder if any good comes from contradicting another person's reality. In all the hundreds of debates I have had, I have never once changed a person's mind. To the contrary, I usually strengthen their resolve to hold to their position even when clear evidence in front of us both demonstrates that they are wrong. Often, contradicting another person's reality seems to strain the relationship I have with that person, even when done tactfully. So perhaps I should stop trying. I should let everyone believe what they want to believe and simply seek to understand their reality for my own benefit.

    I used to see the value in debate being the opportunity for people to seek a higher truth, but very few people hold themselves to that standard. Now when most people are challenged in their beliefs and perceptions, their ego steps in and they will ignore evidence and reason for the benefit of whatever ideal they have become emotionally invested in protecting. Ultimately most debates come down to values or "internal principles" which people seldom wish to discuss. I've always been an open book when it comes to my morality and so it has always been difficult for me to understand why other people aren't as well. I think it is usually because people don't know why they value what they value and they fear questioning it or don't see the purpose in questioning it. Critical thinking has taught me that there is no understanding unless you are willing to question why you believe what you believe, and so I'm left contradicting people who are unable or too afraid to contradict themselves.

    I can no longer see any good coming from doing so.
     
  2. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Why would you limit your perception of another person's beliefs and internal reactions to your arguments to whatever they write or say to you at the moment?
     
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  3. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

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    I thought that the point of having beliefs was sticking to them. I used to adapt whatever belief seemed the most true, but I found that ultimately I didn't have any ideas of my own--- I was just drifting from one idea to another and none of the ideas meant anything to me. Sure, I'm flexible about most things but there are some beliefs that I hold that cannot be reversed. It's my point of view. But I get what you're saying--- sometimes I will debate what has been called 'fact debates' in which I try to outfact someone by using references I've read about by credible sources. Whether I believe them or not tends to be irrelevant. I ran into an arugement the other day with my sister over this. It was clear that my side was more factual and rationally would have won-- but she declared it an 'opinion' debate. I panicked. I didn't understand how I was supposed to debate opinions- after all, they are just opinions and have very little merit outside of a person's own world. I realized that I had no opinion about the topic I was debating, or point of view. I just was using facts I knew to counter hers.
     
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  4. OP
    Satya

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    I'm not sure what you mean. I'm not aware that I am limiting anything. All I know is that very little good seems to come from contradicting someone. Obviously I can't tell what any person might do after I am done debating them or if their beliefs may change in time, but history has shown me that people seldom change their reality to incorporate contradicting opinions. In fact, I feel like an outright anomaly considering how many times I have changed my core belief system.
     
  5. OP
    Satya

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    Like most people, my views are mostly shaped by my experiences. When I encounter new experiences, I can adjust my view to accommodate them. As I encounter evidence to support a belief one way or another, I incorporate that and form a belief which can easily be disproved when new, better evidence is made available. In essence, you could turn me from a social democratic to an anarcho capitalist in a New York minute if you could provide sufficient, valid empirical evidence to support that position.
     
  6. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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  7. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    While it's true that your debates are unlikely to change people's opinions on their own, they do contribute to a greater pressure over time, provided you are not advocating a particularly unusual viewpoint. (A 9/11 truther really has to shoot shis wad all at once to have any hope of success, because the target would probably be made to feel very foolish if se advocated shis newfound convictions outside of the internet. You, on the other hand, tend to represent a more mainstream set of views, and if you are debating folks from the fringes, you are almost certainly just adding to the similarly-minded arguments they are already encountering.)

    My point is that changing a person's views is a group effort, and furthermore, the effects that you can actually see will be much less than those in reality, because a debate opponent will seldom admit defeat to you, even if se must admit it to himself the next day. The nature of debate pretty well ensures that those who do most of the work will not be the first ones to see the results.
     
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  8. OP
    Satya

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    Not really. I would still see the contradictions. I would just choose not to voice them. It might present new challenges in that I would have to seek information in a nonconfrontational manner.
     
  9. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    You got to try and convince the innovators and early adopters ^, you're wasting your time if you're dealing with the majority, and especially those dirty laggards (_STJs, just kiddin', kinda...).
     
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  10. OP
    Satya

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    Perhaps that is the case.

    Of course, I can also get my views across without debating.

    I guess I just can't be results oriented if I plan to debate and I need to understand my motives before doing so.
     
  11. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I don't think it's wrong to express why you feel a certain way, surely. But having the expectations that the other person will be swayed is not in our hands. People have to come to conclusions on their own - the only thing you can do (or anyone of us) is simply present the case in whatever way you feel it. You can argue for a while, but no one is convinced by the argument itself. The person's heart determines how they view it. If your words helped them get there, then so be it. But it wasn't your words that changed their mind. Only an individual has the ability to change his or her mind.
     
    #11 arbygil, Sep 28, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  12. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Generally, do you debate in order to change people's minds, or for your own enjoyment? Could you find a debate satisfactory regardless of the results?
     
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  13. OP
    Satya

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    I'm aware that all persuasion is ultimately self persuasion. The question I am asking is not whether or not I can change a person's reality, but whether or not any good comes from trying to do so.
     
  14. OP
    Satya

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    As I said in my OP, I'm just not sure whether any good comes form trying to contradict a person's reality. If people are truly open to doing so, then they will on their own as the information becomes available. However, simply discussing the facts can provide the information just as well as debate can.

    My satisfaction comes from coming to a better understanding of why people believe what they believe.
     
  15. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    This is my new definition of open-mindedness.
     
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  16. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Hm. I read it as one and the same, but I see what you mean now. I guess it depends on whether or not you believe "you're doing it for the person's own good." Like in a parental role.

    Why do you feel someone needs to be persuaded, then? For what purpose would you do this? If it's for your own self satisfaction, then you're going to get hurt. If you feel that the individual is seriously deluded, then you're trying to teach them something. The only way you won't get hurt is if you're expression your own opinion, and not trying to persuade someone else's. Otherwise, the motive is not pure and it will cause personal discontent.

    Just my opinion.

    ETA: Ah, never mind. I posted this before I had a chance to read what you previously posted. Never mind. :)
     
    #16 arbygil, Sep 28, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  17. OP
    Satya

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    Thanks.

    Maybe that is my problem. Maybe I'm holding everyone to the same standard of open mindedness that I hold myself to and by comparison, it pisses me off when people have closed themselves off to ideas that contradict what they believe. In fact, I'm almost certain that is what it is. Even I have closed myself off to some ideas just because they contradict what I know to be true. I should always seek to find the value in every idea even if I'm the only person in the world who wants to do so. If I am not doing that, then I am undermining my own values.
     
  18. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    There may be a win-win solution: try debating without letting the other person know it.

    [youtube]EFSW9QCaFNQ[/youtube]

    Then se can feel smart (or privately stupid, as it may be) answering all your questions, and you can get the gist of shis beliefs and reasoning without making assertions of your own and rocking the boat.
     
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  19. OP
    Satya

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    I think most people are aware of Socratic method.
     
  20. Lucifer

    Lucifer Registered User #666

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    If it makes you feel any better sometimes when I get into an argument I have to walk away think about it then start changing my views. Maybe you don't see when they change their minds but they are actually considering what your saying.

    That happens a lot with me actually.
     
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