Monday, August 18, 2014

Irrational discourse

I cannot decide if Twitter mirrors society or at times creates its own. Much of the discourse that occurs there does seem to mirror the political and social norms that have developed in this country. There is no room for perspective or thoughtful consideration. Rational discussions are rare and arguments are to be won at all costs. It is a world of irrational discourse.
A friend of mine, a man that appears to hold similar values to mine, asked a simple question yesterday. Yes, it concerned baseball and St. Louis Cardinals, of which he follows and writes about. Strong opinions concerning the current Cardinal manager, Mike Matheny, have been expressed for quite some time in light of the struggles the Cardinals have had this season putting together a run of any significance.
So my friend asked a simple question: Would people rather see the current manager or a different one in 2015? It was a request for rational discourse. It led to anything but. My friend was so browbeaten from asking the question, that he ended up deleting it from his feed. People were not interested in rational discourse. They mirrored a world that basically says that either you agree with my argument or your are not worthy to live.
Right near where the Cardinals play is another drama of far greater concern and significance. Horrors are occurring right on our computer screens and the situation is volatile and one of those life-changing events we will be talking about for a while.
I know enough to stay out of those conversations simply because I am not informed enough to know what I am talking about. It does seem that enough blame could go around to all sides of the equation. The anger and vitriol being spewed concerning the event does not rationally try to look at Ferguson in a rational way. Opinions have been decided and you either agree or you are an enemy.
Politics is another area where this lack of rational thought leaves the observer stunned and saddened. You are either left or right and no matter which position you take, you are a moron and have no value. There cannot be any working together because doing so would weaken our arguments and positions. We might have to admit that we could be slightly wrong about anything.
I fully realize that I am an idealist with a longing for a polite society where respect for each other is the starting point of all discussions. The main point of discussion is to either come to a consensus or to politely agree to disagree. But this is not the world where we currently live.
Instead it is a world of bully pulpits, bully arguments with a winner take all mentality. It is ugly to me and sours my world view. The object of the argument is not to respect and discuss, but to annihilate the opponent. It is an, "I win," world. In my world view, it doesn't matter if I win as long as we both respect each other after. I am apparently in the minority.
I approach life with the understanding that I do not know everything and am often wrong. I live a life of introspection. I think about what my Creator thinks of my thoughts and actions and how I can show some kind of light in a dark world. I have regrets about things I do and say that are not kind and uplifting. If you are perceptive, this is where you can hurt me.
The world seems ugly at present. And yet, there has always been ugliness in this world. History is full of unkindness in its worst forms. We have not evolved as a race. Quite the opposite seems to be the case. I wish it was different. I wish I could have a conversation that did not turn into a battle of wills. Discourse will continue to be irrational. I builds ratings and page views. I see it all with sadness and wish respect was more important. People say that respect is earned. I believe it is a gift given to a fellow traveler on this journey.

1 comment:

forged said...

The hard part of discussing things with passionate fans is to keep an open mind that there are more than one way to look at a situation.

(And that definitely applies to more than just sports.)