Too many times I have sat at the dinner table letting the flow of conversation escalate into raging disagreements. These arguments last days, weeks, months of not communicating. When they do decide to talk again, it’s revolves back into a whirlwind of quarrels. Today, I sent a link to 5 of my family members regarding how to argue. The video I sent them was a Tedx talk by Daniel H. Cohen called, “For Argument’s Sake”.
Cohen talks about how there are three types of arguments: Arguments as War, Arguments as Proofs, Arguments as Performances. The last two types of arguments were not the types I was focusing on to correct this roundabout fighting. Argument Type #1 (Arguments as War) was the type they needed to focus on. It was the reason for these family orientated separations. My family sees arguments as their way to compete. It’s a constant battle to have the other siblings their point of view and agree. Granted there are 10 of them, but the worse part is that their facts are flawed.
Arguments as Wars is about winning and loosing. Cohen says it’s the way we think about them, talk about them, and how we conduct our arguments. He goes on to explain these types of arguments have deforming effects. For example, substance of material tends to lack. It splits two parties off in a way that isn’t beneficial for coming up with the right solution. It also only allows for two outcomes: a victorious win or a terrible loss. He claims compromise and negotiation are not means of settlement.
I keep coming back to this ideology of the importance of hearing other viewpoints and accepting them. It been a mindset that I have felt has lead to a happier version of Alynne. You don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but understanding people have opposing viewpoints is crucial to learning. I hope my family learns to take the knowledge expressed in Cohen’s Tedx talk and incorporate it into their own lives.