By Ahmad Jawad
Never before this subject has been presented. Let me touch a very critical issue of our society today which will explain the philosophy behind Art of conversation & Art of Argument in Digital World. I might like to claim that subject I am touching today is most vital for evolution of civilised societies yet it has never been taught in most of our homes, any educational institution, any media forum or by any Think Tank. Your attention will be my reward towards my initiative to present the subject. Your understanding of subject will be your reward to a valuable piece of reading.
Every individual carries different background, intelligence, experience, attitude, likes, dislikes & habits despite the fact that education & grooming could be similar. This evolves an environment of diverse opinion on every subject including politics, social issues, religion, current affairs, history, economy, success & failures. What will happen if every individual gets stubborn on his/her opinion, result will be chaos, fights & bitterness in our daily life. Societies prevalent with such situation disintegrate slowly. The frequency & need for Art of Conversation & Argument has risen tremendously in Digital Age.Secondly discussing in the physical presence of a group of people and discussion on digital forum are very different in nature. In physical presence, your eyes & body language help in mutual understanding during a discussion.In digital forum, entire reliance of mutual understanding is on ” composition of words” which are written & understood in different manner by different people.
What is the solution?
Here comes the Art of Conversation & Art of Argument.
Our conversation & argument rose from small encounters in our daily life to Digital era which allowed group discussion on various subjects using Email, FaceBook, Twitter, WhatsApp & many other forums. Like I always say ” Social media is not evolution, it’s a happening”, we were not groomed or prepared for such exposure, people of every Stature, any level of Education or Experience, Fluctuating Temperaments and sentiments of Happiness, Sadness, Success, Failure, emotion, depression and passion jumped into one group of digital age. Suddenly it became ” Too close for comfort”.
Societies like ours which were not civilised & lacked in education, tolerance, grooming and attitudes are more vulnerable to digital era.
Digital World is a tool if used without prerequisites,can back fire & may turn societies in chaos, bitterness & even civil wars. First of all we must accept the vital need of learning “The art of argument & conversation” in Digital World. We must groom our society to learn how to survive & grow in Digital World.
We must begin to understand the difference between “one on one” discussion & a group discussion. Sensitivity level in a group discussion are much higher than individual discussion. Basic understanding of such difference can help mutual understanding. We may belong to following types of groups on social media forums:
Who just reads & learns silently without any contribution or argument.The group may have intellectuals & highly educated people but those prefer to stay silent for various reasons.
2. Well researched & knowledgeable:
Those who carry out research before writing & possess knowledge & experience. They like to devote time for common cause of awareness & learning.
Those who would forward useful, interesting, significant information without any comments or analysis. This group may have people who are very busy in their professional life but like to exchange good things among family & friends in shortest time.
4. Counter Opinion group:
This group when reads an opinion, has the ability to find missing links or angles & provides a different angle or counter argument which opens way for further healthy deliberation & learning. People from this group wants to pursue their opinions & like to learn & educate others simultaneously.This group knows & understand that society stands on ” Let’s agree to disagree” and knows the art of disagreement without challenging & offending the others.
This group of people are dangerous. They react in a manner which is tantamount to ridiculing, insulting, rejecting, challenging the other opinion arrogantly. People from this group are empty & blank. They hate fullness & content from others with strong reactions.
We may belong to any of the group but we should try to stay away from 5th group which can cause disruption of peace & harmony both within an healthy & learning environment.
Some tips how we can avoid to be part of dangerous 5th group.
1. Never start your response to any opinion by expressions like ” I disagree with you”. This four words expression is not an opinion but an expression of arrogance & frustration. You can provide a counter argument without the expression of frustration. When we use this Four letter sentence, we basically lack to offer counter argument & compensate our ignorance by putting the entire weight of our logic into the basket of arrogance. It’s like rejecting your addressee. Nobody like to be rejected. You can reject the opinion of your addressee by giving your point of view with matching facts n figures but not by rejecting his thoughts, his knowledge, his research or his argument. Such expression is like arrogance & lack of manners in a civilised Society. Such expression is similar to situation where you draw swords before offering any counter argument. Counter argument is the civilised way of our disagreement & even rejecting others opinion. We might have heard phrases like ” I beg to differ” which are expression from English culture and are a soft way of offering your opposite opinion. I even do not recommend to start your counter argument even with this softer version, I recommend to offer your counter argument without any expression of challenging your addressee. Beauty of counter argument is presenting your argument without putting your hand on sword & drawing sword.
Response in the form of Phrases like ” what a comparison”, “what a choice” and obnoxious words like “non sense”, “ridiculous”are not counter argument but way of ridiculing your addressee.
Art of Conversation & Argument is not one time recipe but we practice it throughout our life to develop & learn this art. Patience, Tolerance, humbleness, knowledge, experience, Learning are different keys to open the Art of Conversation & Argument. We all fell prey to undesirable conversation in our life under emotions & strong likes & dislikes but we may analyse our response after each episode to apply correction.
Another undesirable approach in an argument is passing Judgment. Here we need to understand the difference between a judgment & a conclusion. Conclusion is drawing result after presenting facts n figures. Judgement is only an expression of our likes & dislikes. Conclusion helps in understanding, Judgment create friction in a conversation.
Taking a deep breath before offering counter arguments is also a very helpful tip 😀
By adopting above guidelines, not only we can improve our knowledge & enhance our learning ability but we help in creating a society of harmony & mutual respect.
Best of luck in the Digital Age.