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Nially_Bob's avatar

Do you think the ability to detach yourself emotionally from debates is a sign of maturity?

Asked by Nially_Bob (3841 points ) January 21st, 2013

This is something I’ve pondered over for a while: is a person who approaches a debate more passively doing so as a consequence of maturity, or is it simply a sign that they are dispassionate? Feel free to offer either individual opinions or more analytical answers; I welcome both :)

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13 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

There is a thing called class that I work very hard to install into my children. People should know when they have crossed from playful behavior to hurtful behavior. Hurtful behavior lacks class and they should come to me for direction.

rooeytoo's avatar

Not really, I think I am reasonably mature, at my age I should be, but I can be baited. And sometimes I take the bait more easily than I wish I would. But that is my personality more than a lack of maturity. And the fact that some people are amazingly adept at baiting!

Shippy's avatar

I love @Imadethisupwithnoforethought answer. That to me is the answer.

Who listens to a screaming banshee anyway? Who pays heed to an aggressive person, who even takes notice of the words spoken by an angry (asshole).

Sorry, was having a rant. there is just so much anger in the world. I am party to it too.

Fyrius's avatar

It could be either or both or neither for any specific individual, methinks.

I do think someone who is mature enough on the specific subject of debating would know better than to get carried away with losing their temper. So, in that case not every calm debater is necessarily mature, but every mature debater would be calm, is a crude summary of the gist.

Then again, I’m not so sure if being emotionally involved in a debate is necessarily a bad idea. Some issues might merit passion. At any rate you’d have to do so cautiously, and not with abandon, because it can definitely bias you and sabotage the debate. And with prolonged exposure, sabotage your mind.

dabbler's avatar

I think being dispassionate in an argument can be a sign of maturity.
Being able to back out of an argument when it gets unproductive is a real asset and can avoid lots of hurt. It’s similar in principle to poker philosophy, “know when to fold ‘em”.
Being dispassionate about everything and never engaging in animated discussion is another thing, either apathy or nihilism.

mattbrowne's avatar

We can’t influence basic emotions such as anger, fear and sadness. This includes what we hear or read in debates. What you called detachment is rather about quieting the internal chatter of our minds. So when we feel anger, we prevent ourselves from thinking destructive thoughts that can turn anger into rage or fear into panic. Being able to do so is indeed a sign of maturity and it requires training of the mind.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Being passive and being rude are not the only two options here. I think being passive during an argument shows you don’t really care about the topic, which would take away from your side of the argument. Screaming and belittling the other person would also take away from your argument for reasons mentioned. I think taking the middle ground is the best option. Be passionate, but polite. Emphatic, but not pretentious.

To answer the question, no, I don’t think a person that is passive in an argument is more mature than those who are more passionate.

burntbonez's avatar

I don’t know what you are thinking of when you say “more passively.” Does that mean turning a screamer down a notch to a yeller? Turning a rabid attack dog down to a growling attack dog?

Or do you mean taking all passion out and talking in a dull monotone?

There are rules to debate followed in high school, college and in legislative bodies. Congress is better at it than the Kentucky House of Representatives. Congress is professional. Many state legislatures are amateurs, yet they all are supposed to follow certain rules of order and decorum.

You seem to be asking about rank amateurs. The hoi polloi. Ordinary people. If they act like professionals, is that a sign of maturity?

I would say not. I would say it’s a sign of training.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t believe so.

ETpro's avatar

If your hope is to sway the person you are debating to change their view, then it helps to be able to control your temper, appeal to reason and to decency without saying your opponent is unreasonable and indecent to hold the opinion they do. But there is also a time to draw the line, to call out personal attacks and obvious logical fallacies, and to oppose that which is irrational or hateful. When you are debating a Little Hitler, appeasement won’t do the trick. A blast in the face from a 10 gauge shotgun might be what’s required.

TheobromosHumper's avatar

No, I don’t think so. I think it makes you dry and humorless. You’ll never debate well if you lack passion.

wundayatta's avatar

Lack of passion is not a sign of maturity. It is a sign you don’t care. That’s why Obama lost the first debate with Romney so badly. It seemed like he didn’t care.

rojo's avatar

@Shippy I think screaming banshee is redundant

but regardless, I have told my daughter I will coach my grandaughters soccer team if I can name the team of six year old girls “The Banshees”.

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