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Are we able to change?

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Are we able to change?

Old 9th May 2022, 20:39
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Are we able to change?

How do you win an argument on social media?
Nobody knows, it has never been done.

Yes, a stupid joke, but is there some truth to it? I don't see a lot of flexibility, all the arguments I had in here more or less ended in a Verdun-like gridlock.

Are we in principle able to change our opinions or eternally stuck inside our personalities, tribes and emotions?
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Old 9th May 2022, 20:47
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Sorry to have to tell you this, but you're wrong.
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Old 9th May 2022, 20:56
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No, he's Wong.
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Old 9th May 2022, 21:20
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It depends on a person's ability to process new (to them at least) information. People often take in some set of information and make a decision and refuse to re-examine that decision. If someone says some group of people are inferior and that is accepted as information and the decision is to believe it, then it is difficult to change that opinion.

Often people substitute what they have been told for finding out for themselves, I think usually they look no further because if their decision was found to be wrong their perception of their place in the world will not be as different or better than they believed. It might even be far worse.

I'm reminded of a Ted Talk about Being Wrong. The presenter asks what it feels like to be wrong. Someone replies "awful." The presenter says that is the answer to a different question, "What does it feel like to find out you are wrong?"

The problem is, as explained in that talk, a person who is wrong feels just the same as they feel when they are right and that is what makes being wrong dangerous.
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Old 10th May 2022, 06:03
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Ultimately it has to be on an individual basis. It's all too easy to go along with a group opinion without challenging the opinion. Many are indoctrinated by their parents, taking for certain beliefs that are unchallenged. We are for the most part herd animals and to question the status quo risks alienation and very real chance of losing out in various ways by group reaction, both openly and covertly.

I think on-line discussions take away the human ability to read the other's reaction, points not taken/exaggeratedly taken, causing offence to be taken where there was none intended. or indifference detected where there was none meant. Sarcasm a dangerous tool best left in the toolbox.

In short a minefield best navigated with caution. Some prefer to run, causing the hidden menace to go off ;-)
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Old 10th May 2022, 06:51
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The obvious case is religion. People do become God botherers whilst others move from religion to atheism. People also move politically. Whether personality traits can change is another matter. I would say that to a limited extent people dan change their behaviour, but not to any huge extent, your personality is a combination of nurture and nature.
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Old 10th May 2022, 07:28
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Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
John Kenneth Galbraith

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Old 10th May 2022, 07:40
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Originally Posted by MechEngr View Post
I'm reminded of a Ted Talk about Being Wrong. The presenter asks what it feels like to be wrong. Someone replies "awful." The presenter says that is the answer to a different question, "What does it feel like to find out you are wrong?"
This sounds catchy, but the presenter's statement was misleading (perhaps to make a point).

The only state where we can answer (with some degree of honesty) how it feels is precisely the passage from (thinking you're) being right to (realizing you're) being wrong. In other words, the two questions, "What it feels like to be wrong?" and "What does it feel like to find out you are wrong?" are, for all purposes, tautologous.

Think about it: Can you be in a state where you are wrong, reflecting on being wrong, which is temporally disconnected from finding out that you're wrong? "I learned last year that the Earth is round, after all, so let me tell you how it feels, today, to be wrong". The whole premise defies reason. One of the cornerstones of philosophy is that we can't hold as true an unjustified false belief. That is, we can't believe something we know to be false – though of course there is a vast array of coping mechanisms (such as psychological projection) to avoid the cognitive dissonance and overall unpleasantness involved.
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Old 10th May 2022, 08:13
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"If you say I don't know, the possibility of knowing becomes a living reality. Human intelligence is at its best when it says I don't know. (Sadhguru)
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Old 10th May 2022, 08:20
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Because listening and reading are differing ways of absorbing information, I suspect we are all a bit more intransigent on SM, whereas if we were sitting opposite the person we were arguing with, we might be more open to persuasion to see a more open and wider view. All to do with body language and the subtle nuances that we all display plus verbal emphasis on key points.

Possibly an element that a lot of us being a bit lazy when it comes to attaining information so would rather have it fed to us in neat packages online than research it for ourselves?

Very good question though - and certainly made me think!
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Old 10th May 2022, 08:31
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Originally Posted by Effluent Man View Post
The obvious case is religion. People do become God botherers whilst others move from religion to atheism. People also move politically. Whether personality traits can change is another matter. I would say that to a limited extent people dan change their behaviour, but not to any huge extent, your personality is a combination of nurture and nature.
I object strongly to the term God botherers. I wonder why you gave God a capital G.
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Old 10th May 2022, 08:54
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Originally Posted by Barksdale Boy View Post
I object strongly to the term God botherers. I wonder why you gave God a capital G.
Probably to be just a little more offensive.
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Old 10th May 2022, 11:13
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bear with me on this one, there is a point...

When I was six or seven (rather a lot of decades ago) our teacher took a poll on the class's favourite colour. As she asked each of us in turn, she would draw a square of the appropriate colour in crayon on a big ruled sheet of paper, building up a very simple bar chart.

While this was intended as a very simple lesson in counting I took a much more profound message from it. So much so that I remember it to this day.

My choice of favourite colour was red. And what do you know - red was the most popular colour in the class! This taught me two things:
1. My choice of colour was vindicated. This was objective proof that red was the best colour and I had been correct all along.
2 As red being best was now proven as a self evident truth, then those who voted otherwise were clearly doing so for subversive reasons.

Those who voted in ones and twos for weird colors like orange or purple were probably just attention seeking. I didn't know the word narcissist when I was six but if I had then that's the word I would have used.
But what about those who voted for blue in nearly as many numbers as red? Had they been plotting before the vote? Had they come up with some plan to subvert the truth? Again, I may not have known the word conspiracy back then, but this is certainly what it was!

So there you have it. What should have been a simple lesson in representing numbers in charts turned out to be my first powerful lesson in how democracy works.
It perhaps took me a couple of decades to realise it was a pretty warped view on subjective opinion and objective truth. But from that it helped me now see how that distorted, childlike view permeates so much adult thinking.

Last edited by Dont Hang Up; 10th May 2022 at 11:25.
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Old 10th May 2022, 11:37
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How do you win an argument on social media?
Nobody knows, it has never been done.


Of course it hasn't !!
Argument, of necessity, is unending ! While it might be possible to modify or, even reverse, individual views, the underlying difference of views will be held by others, so ensuring a continuance. The value of argument is, I believe, to broaden viewpoints not to change them to a different, similarly constraining, dogma. Acceptance of another's point of view may well lead to social harmony, but it is the basis of stagnation of thought and the potential of reason and logic.
Argument, even at its most intemperate, yields viewpoints which (unless they are unsupported) requires mental effort to take part. Accepting someone else's philosophy is mental laziness and, therefore, valueless.
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Old 10th May 2022, 11:52
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So there you have it. What should have been a simple lesson in representing numbers in charts turned out to be my first powerful lesson in how democracy works.
It perhaps took me a couple of decades to realise it was a pretty warped view on subjective opinion and objective truth. But from that it helped me now see how that distorted, childlike view permeates so much adult thinking.

Interesting, but confusing conclusion !
Are you of the "Everybody says (or knows) " persuasion on contentious issues, or do you subscribe to individualism ? Either could be divined from the above. Objective truth, I would suggest is one of life's impossible aims - the best we can hope for is carefully monitored self policing.

Last edited by Cornish Jack; 10th May 2022 at 12:34.
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Old 10th May 2022, 13:10
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
Interesting, but confusing conclusion !
Are you of the "Everybody says (or knows) " persuasion on contentious issues, or do you subscribe to individualism ? Either could be divined from the above. Objective truth, I would suggest is one of life's impossible aims - the best we can hope for is carefully monitored self policing.
Well the lessons I took from it were simple enough. Sorry if it didn't come across.
1. Don't look for objective truth in the wrong places - e.g. a simple majority viewpoint
2. Even if you think you've found it, don't assume everyone else must see it too and is taking a contrary view out of sheer bloody-minded awkwardness.

Simple enough one might think, but any Internet argument will usually demonstrate these are not lessons easily understood by many.
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Old 10th May 2022, 15:16
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The real reason we argue is because, subconsciously, we only want one thing - to win an argument.

Those who are free from this desire, or at least have learned to control it, usually do not engage in arguments.





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Old 10th May 2022, 15:48
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Originally Posted by JRK View Post
The real reason we argue is because, subconsciously, we only want one thing - to win an argument.

No we don't!
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Old 10th May 2022, 15:50
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Originally Posted by JRK View Post
The real reason we argue is because, subconsciously, we only want one thing - to win an argument.
You’ve met my wife then?

Last edited by Avionker; 10th May 2022 at 17:27.
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Old 10th May 2022, 15:50
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I'm always wrong, or so the Memsahib tells me.....
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