Tips on how to master debating

Reading some of the comments on my article about the opening of ports to Cypriot flagged shipping, gives me a sad sense of despondency. The standard of debate is, sadly, on the level of a plank of wood. Churchill once said, believe no statistics that you haven’t  forged yourself. So percentage here or percentage there the real debate is somewhere else.

The incredibly sad thing is that people are taking the easy route, the one requiring the “line of least thought”, the one that requires the mental ability of an amoeba. It is stunningly easy to be destructive, it almost follows the first law of thermodynamics; that everything strives to attain the lowest level of energy, or in this case intellect. Maybe it’s a symptom of the “civilization” we live in? Yob rule, where it’s acceptable, to be as dumb as possible and still be able to eat and breathe. It is easy to say we don’t like something, to rubbish someone else’s ideas, to trash the efforts of other people’s hard work. It doesn’t take a mental astronaut to condemn something out of hand because of preconceptions or inherited notions. It is harder and therefore more unlikely that those pretending to debate should search for the facts and make a personal judgement, not based on what others believe. Reminds me of the old joke about the most intelligent thing a husband can say. You can’t wait for it, can you? “My wife thinks…..” Well it may be funny to some.

It takes a “mensch” to look at the crap all around us, to analyse what went wrong and to have some sort of vision as to how, constructively, things can be made better. By better, I don’t mean harking back to how it was, which was what caused all the heartache in the first place. I mean real hard constructive thinking on what we want and what needs to be done to achieve it. This means unfortunately for some, real headaches. It means accepting some unpalatable facts, irrespective of which side of the fence you sit on. It means that the individual is the driver in the process of change, not the politicians. The sooner people get their heads around this concept that change is not a regression to the state of affairs that was, the sooner the will for a change of any sort will gain footing. Going back is not an option, repetition is by nature boring and I hope some of the people reading this will take to heart that it doesn’t become any truer by repetition, times and attitudes have changed. The world has moved on, sadly leaving a lot of people behind.

Like a relationship that breaks down, you can repair it only if the differences are reconcilable, and here I feel one has to be realistic enough to admit that the best deal could possibly be no deal. You cannot force a divorced couple to get back into bed with each other and live happily ever after. Hey, they didn’t live happily before so the chances it may happen by force are negligible. The mental effort to accept a) that change is vital is one big step and b) change is something that will affect us all both negatively and positively. In the hope we don’t continue the spiral into the lowest levels of energy and intellect.

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