Table of contents:
- At the end of the 19th century, anthropologists described the "very first wars" that happened between representatives of the so-called "primitive peoples" of Africa, Oceania, and the Amazonian jungle. In the overwhelming majority of cases, conflicts between primitive communal tribes were resolved through symbolic aggression. Armed people lined up opposite each other and … started a squabble! They boasted of their strength and their exploits, while not forgetting to insult and ridicule their opponents. A sort of ancient rap battle
- Disputes and rituals
- Troll war
- The right questions
Video: Truth Is Born In Dispute. Are You Ready To Argue About It? - Society
At the end of the 19th century, anthropologists described the "very first wars" that happened between representatives of the so-called "primitive peoples" of Africa, Oceania, and the Amazonian jungle. In the overwhelming majority of cases, conflicts between primitive communal tribes were resolved through symbolic aggression. Armed people lined up opposite each other and … started a squabble! They boasted of their strength and their exploits, while not forgetting to insult and ridicule their opponents. A sort of ancient rap battle
Disputes and rituals
The squabble could last for several days, and the very boasting and insults were expressed in a "highly artistic" form - through dances and songs. For women and children, this "show" was usually forbidden, but for men, against the background of gray everyday life, such military actions were quite a distraction.
In rare cases, these ritual songs and dances could escalate into a fight, but more often than not, one of the parties admitted that it was defeated. After which the parties agreed on compensation (food, some products, women, etc.) and dispersed. The conflict was considered settled
Ritual forms of expression of aggression were widespread in Ancient Greece (which is considered the ancestor of modern Western civilization). The culture of the ancient Greeks is called agonistic (from the word agon - "struggle, competition") precisely because literally all spheres of life were saturated with struggle. For example, one of the favorite secular entertainments of the ancient Greeks was public disputes - disputes between representatives of various philosophical schools.
Disputes usually took place on the market square (Greek agora) with the active participation of many "fans". The winner in the dispute received people's love, “likes” (as they would say now) in the form of coins thrown at their feet, food and other gifts, as well as the patronage of wealthy citizens who often hired such “dispute masters” as mentors for themselves and their children … The loser in the dispute was booed and driven out of the city, while physical force could well have been used.
The main merit of the ancient Greeks is that they "domesticated" the dispute as much as possible, literally turning it into art
In 355 BC, Aristotle wrote his famous "Rhetoric", in which he reviewed the various techniques and techniques of "speech combat". Curiously, even then all the methods of the dispute were divided into correct (ethical, constructive, helping to establish the truth) and incorrect (unethical, eroding understanding, not revealing the truth, but only forcing the interlocutor to agree).
According to Aristotle, the sophists (basing their argumentation on logical errors and paradoxes) and the Eristas used incorrect methods of dispute. The latter generally believed that any means were good for winning a dispute, allowing techniques such as taking the interlocutor out of emotional balance through direct insults, ridicule, mimicking, attributing unethical thoughts to him, etc.
We have long grown out of the framework of ancient Greek civilization, but the relevance of the civilized expression of aggression (in such a symbolic form as a dispute) does not diminish. Modern information technologies make the world more and more "permeable".
We have more and more opportunities to “disagree with a neighbor”, and any differences (cultural, economic, political, etc.) potentially contain a conflict. Today, the Internet space is an arena of endless disputes on any issues, from choosing the best mobile phone to global issues about the need for religion, the benefits and dangers of feminism, geopolitics, etc.
Anyone who expresses a personal opinion on the web that is more or less different from the generally accepted (and not necessarily radical) opinion will certainly receive opposite opinions in response
These are the seeds of a potential dispute; and many of these seeds will be "weedy" - that is, incorrect from a rhetorical point of view. They can easily call you a fool or dig up a meaning in your words that you did not put there at all.
In addition, the Internet is inhabited by various characters like haters or trolls, who just give the slightest reason to argue - and they will happily cling to it. Let me remind you that haters are people who categorically hate and deny anything, openly express their hatred and at the same time are not ready and do not want to accept any alternatives to this hatred.
Trolls act in a slightly different way - as a rule, they spread false information or fabricate facts in such a way as to provoke a certain response (for example, a desire to prove their case, reject unfair suspicions, challenge obvious stupidity, etc.).
The main motivation of the trolls is to get pleasure from the fact that the provocation was a success, and the topic they threw in "caught the hype" (that is, it became the subject of discussion and heated debate among a large audience)
The ancient Greek Socrates is credited with the words "In dispute, truth is born." Modern humorists have added to this statement such endings: "but most often she is killed and buried there" or "until a normal fight begins." Should I argue at all then? The reasons for the disputes remained the same as in the animal kingdom and among our ancestors: this is a symbolic way of expressing aggression, a way of domination and self-affirmation (including gaining fame and recognition), a ritualized struggle for resources or values.
For haters, the argument is needed to confirm self-identity and partly as psychotherapy. For trolls, this is more of a show, extreme entertainment, where they get their dose of adrenaline in full, but at the same time they are safe. On the Internet, we never know for sure who we are arguing with (as the famous meme says, “On the Internet, no one knows that you are a dog”), so you should always doubt how much it is worth entering into a discussion or supporting it “to the bitter end ".
The right questions
I can offer several control questions that will help any debater:
- Is this topic / question / opinion (etc.) really controversial? How important is it for me to express my opinion or prove my case in this matter? Why do I really need this?
- Who am I going to argue with? Do I know these people? Is this a real person or an anonymous / mask? If the dispute is "expert", then are our levels of expertise comparable in this matter? How can I be sure that the interlocutor does not wish me ill, but is really interested in an equal dialogue? Our points of view may differ (otherwise there would be no dispute), but do we have at least some "points of intersection" (education, culture, common values) that can become the basis for mutual understanding?
Do we have agreed dispute rules? Does the interlocutor agree to discuss and accept such rules, or does he just need a "fight without rules"? Does the interlocutor have sufficient reflection (the ability to see and evaluate "from the outside") to notice and correct his inappropriate behavior in the dispute?
Does the interlocutor have enough empathy to put himself in my place and better understand and at least partially accept my position in the dispute? How does the interlocutor react to comments about the form (not about the content!) Of his incorrect statements / reactions in a dispute - does he ignore, deny, or is he ready to correct his remarks? (All these questions are important to ask yourself!)
And most importantly: what do I want to get out of this dispute? What will be the consequences for me personally? Will my worldview, attitude in myself, my behavior change? What lesson or benefit am I willing to learn from this debate? How will I look to the public / audience?
How will my relationship with the one with whom I argued change if I win / lose / there is a "fighting draw"? Am I ready to accept the results of the dispute myself? (Especially if my point of view turns out to be wrong. If I'm not ready, am I not a hater ?!)
In conclusion, I will say that before rushing into an argument with your head, pause. Sit down, relax, breathe deeply, and have a cup of tea or coffee. Then ask yourself the security questions above. Become aware of whether this is really "your war", or you can spend precious time in your life on something more interesting and productive. After all, there will always be someone wrong on the Internet …