How many times have you witnessed an argument where you, in your mind, were able to comprehend the points being made by the opposing parties more clearly than their counterparts were. Where you were so sure that if it were you as one of the sides, then the conclusion would’ve been arrived at much sooner, or even instantly. Where, to you, it all seems like a incessant drone and ramblings of lesser brains who are not capable of making heads or tails out of the issue and where, in short, you see everything as clear as a crystal and hence wonder, why can’t they?
After being a part of both of the sides for a very long time, and actually consciously realizing it only recently, and mulling over it for past couple of days, I came to the conclusion that most of the times an argument can be avoided or rather concluded in short order if the arguing parties agree to a few basic rules. I was, from my experience, able to narrow it down to only two. Topic and Subject. At the first glance, these two might seem to be related closely, or even same but trust me, they are not. Well, don’t trust me because I am going to explain how I was able to put almost every discussion and argument I have been into or witnessed, falling in place once I applied these two rules to it. This will also, consequently, answer the question I had asked as the concluding statement of first paragraph.
Topic. Some of the readers might have, by now, already started the process of scrutinizing what I am about to write and maybe even arrived at his own interpretation of the single word I am about to explain. In that case, they might as well skip this section. The reason I think the topic is so important to an argument is, as is very obvious, that it is the at the core of the whole process. This very statement or issue constitutes and defines the realm to which the argument or the discussion will be restricted to. But sadly, this is the very point over which I have seen most of the digression take place which, in turn, vitiates the crux of whole issue and I will admit to have being done the same at many occasions. This deviation is quite intelligible in a case like, lets say, two politicians are arguing. I exempted this class of people from the because in that case, a topic like Why a certain politician should be reprimanded for impropriety of conduct, very quickly distorted into Why that politician wasn’t reprimanded and hence this one also shouldn’t. In a time where the Indian politics has descended to a level where it pretty much resembles a soap opera, these sort of discussions can be found on daily basis on leading news channels where, without fault, every party’s representatives do this. Anyway, I intend to address people more sane than the one’s we have elected, even if reasonably. I don’t know how many of my readers will agree to have seen this happening or admit having themselves done it but I implore them to look at this point subjectively the next time they get an opportunity. How many times the very topic of the discussion changes from its original form, first subtly and later blatantly and eventually the conclusion being arrived upon a totally different one altogether? How many times it has happened that even though the conclusion was on the initial topic, implicit intermediate discussions ended up consuming the bulk of debate? I agree that even those intermediate debates sometimes play a substantial part in the overall scheme of argument, but personally, I feel that those can be avoided and, better still, they can constitute whole other sessions. Even if these sessions are nested within each other, there should be a clarity amongst the participants as to what is being said by them and their opponents and whether its pertinent to the topic at hand. I admit that it’s something that might render a friendly discussion a bit formal, when none is intended but its about you adhering to your basics and letting the other know what your thoughts are – on the topic. Try to give the direction when the talk starts going haywire. I have gotten into many inane fights only because of this reason. Either I was swaying off the issue and I wasn’t told to stick to it, resulting us getting totally somewhere else, either the other person did that and I didn’t bring him back, or sometimes, both. I will, and more appropriately, cannot, go into the reasons as to why people tend to do it. After not-so-much-brooding over the matter, I only realized that in this case, it is the most obvious which is devious to us.
Subject. Who is it we are talking about. You, me or someone else. For god’s sake make this clear. I told you that I saw some abc movie and I thought it was good. So now are you going to keep on blabbering about why it is not good because of the reviews you read or are you going to see it and then apply your thought process and then answer me, which of course would entail you to actually try and, against all your impulses that are frantically beseeching you to argue at that instant, keep quite? This actually summarizes what point I want to make here. This so many a times is able to conclude a seemingly wayward discussion so abruptly that most of the ones at the receiving end don’t even realize what hit them. And this is the point most frustrating to the ones who can actually see through all the haze of words to find this being the reason why there are where they are during an argument. Just decide who is being talked about when you start to argue. Decide. That will make life easier for you, me and others. I am telling you something and I want to know your point of view. Not how it effects the world or Obama or even how Hitler would’ve loved to do the same. I really do not care. I ask you to stay calm during some abc crisis, and you give me the reason that some person was able to actually resolve the crisis because he was totally opposite of being calm, then you might as well get that person to resolve your issue for you. If YOU think that you can resolve it by being agitated then tell me that, not cite instances where frustrated, angry and annoyed people were able to nail the game and come out as leaders. Its not about them, its about you and if the discussion is about them, then keep it there, do not bring it to you and me. This usually goes well when a third person is being talked about and where one is required to put his views regarding the topic. Some are subjective, some objective, but in the end everyone either agrees on other’s point or holds on to their point. One can talk for or against the person or situation or whatever being talked about and still hold his separate view for himself. Its when it comes talking about individuals who are in the discussion and who are the ones being talked about I have seen most of the massacres happening. Again thats my personal observation, and obviously, will be different for everyone. But the point will be the same. Many people have this inveterate habit of trying to justify the point one way or the other. Well, that’s also the very basic human nature but that’s where the point is lost because those people, if not able to justify the point for themselves, will do it for someone else and will stick to it till the end of discussion. Its more about being unyielding than being opinionated. Its about proving, one way or the other. I can cite numerous examples where I have encountered discussions going on and on for hours which simply would’ve come to a conclusion had some of the participants agreed that their point does not hold. Instead they do what I have just mentioned. Justify it by mentioning some third person. Well, if that is what one wants to put an argument to a question directed and pertaining him in first person, then there is no point arguing on it, is it? He might just follow the quoted person for the rest of his life. Anyway, I think I have made my point by enough examples. The only reason I feel so strongly about this particular point is that I have been at the receiving end of it most of the times and also this is more irritating to me when I see someone else doing it. I was made to realize this and have been trying to avoid it as much as I can.
The last point, which also concludes my monologue and answers the question I asked previously is that we are able to see through this and make sense out of it almost always when we are not into an argument, is because, we are not in the argument. We don’t care about losing or winning the bout of words. We don’t have to try to think of ways to justify our point of view and refute the other’s at the same time. We know what the topic is and what is the subject under consideration. We know what reactions and arguments are utterly futile and impertinent, even though they are made with utmost conviction, because we have the broader picture in mind and we can relate easily what is being said to about what it is being said and what should have been actually said. Many of the readers might hold different views about this and I would love to read/talk about it. Please feel free to comment and express your opinion on this post.