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phoebusg's avatar

What is your favorite method of discourse, why?

Asked by phoebusg (5230points) February 11th, 2010

By method I mean – what kinds of requirements do you have from how a discussion is carried out?

For example – I prefer a conversation of mutual benefit. Exchanging views, and information – but working as a collective to solve the unknown – in common. Instead of simply trying to get the other party(-ies) to agree by using all means.

Discuss :)

If we run out of questions in this one – what is the difference between: conversation, argument, discussion, debate and any others you can think of.

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43 Answers

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I like your mutual benefit idea as well. Something I also like, is seeing things from every angle. Whether being informed by another party or thinking of it myself, I think it’s important to look at a situation from every view possible.

Trillian's avatar

Argument is not adversarial but that is the connotation with the word. In truth argument is; Function: noun
1 obsolete : an outward sign : indication
2 a : a reason given in proof or rebuttal b : discourse intended to persuade
3 a : the act or process of arguing : argumentation b : a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teMlv3ripSM

Discussion: Function: noun
1 : consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate
2 : a formal treatment of a topic in speech or writing

Debate: Function: noun
: a contention by words or arguments: as a : the formal discussion of a motion before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure b : a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides

I like a good debate or argument. An argument whereby someone supports a statement or contention with documented facts or ideas. I leave the thread when people start taking shots at each other for having a differing viewpoint.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/

Cruiser's avatar

I prefer discussions that emphasize information exchange specifically to further the learning process. I like to learn new things and also share what I know with others. That is why I like sales so much here at work as well as my duties in the lab where I get to explore new materials and processes and solve new problems.

But those who know me here and online also see my passion for debate…nothing beats a good scrappin passionate debate! :)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I do like to know I am being heard and understood,not necessarily agreed with or what is the point of even saying anything?

phoebusg's avatar

@Cruiser why do you think that is? (For the passionate debate/scrapin’)
Passion – as in emotionally charged. Isn’t emotion just secondary information, or an alternate stream of information? (Neuroscience).

I personally prefer if people left emotions out of it. Or – brought emotions in only post-processing. For example, you know why you’re afraid of said statement first – or have some clue as to what this secondary system it telling you – then go ahead and bring that information also on the table.

I find unresolved emotional statements generally complicate and often disrupt the flow of a discussion.

phoebusg's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille and to be understood – truly, you have to be questioned. To reveal hidden dimensions of your statement – underlying thoughts that may not be in your listener’s thoughts and so on.

I tend to see a lot of short comments on fluther, that are far from helpful into gaining an insight. I prefer a good exploration, well if it is a short comment, more questions ;)

drhat77's avatar

like @lucillelucillelucille i don’t mind if people don’t necessarily agree with. I can always slash their tires later. What I like to do in discussions is make people aware of a valid point of view they might have not considered. Discussions rarely change peoples minds or even accomplish anything tangible, but they broaden our horizons and may make us better problem solvers in the future – by helping us consider veipoints and options we might have not considered otherwise.

phoebusg's avatar

@drhat77 I would say that – they do change our minds. It just depends to what degree. If we were a solid unchangeable block of connections, we’d be as good as a motherboard without a flash-chip. I naturally agree with all the rest ;)

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Something that we take for granted is genuinely thinking for ourselves and forming our own opinions. So many times I see people quoting this person or this person, this article or that news cast, without even attempting to get a second opinion, or without finding as much information as possible on said subject and forming their own opinion. Unfortunately I think good informative debates/discussions/arguments have devolved into a sort of jumble of footnotes and citations.

phoebusg's avatar

@tragiclikebowie mostly true. There are some good quotes and articles, however, that can add to the discussion. Rather than lock it up.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@phoebusg True, I meant more like solely basing their argument on one or two quotes or articles without expanding their horizons.

phoebusg's avatar

@tragiclikebowie I hear ya. Same goes for the one liners – even if it’s their own opinion. Completely unexplored it is so vague it could mean anything. And it does. Depending on the reader ;)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@phoebusg -Most of the time,the KISS method is the best method.
Mark Twain said this.He was in my opinion, brilliant:))
I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
– Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880

phoebusg's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I believe that our language is weak, any language in fact. The world of ideas is much richer. I think one should take care – and some time (as provided) to make sure their message retains as much of the information in the original thoughts as possible.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@tragiclikebowie-I love that you love him!He is my favorite author of all time:))

Trillian's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Really? I frequently quote Kahlil Gibran. Not because I’m too stupid to think for myself, but because he captures how I feel about something and articulates it so much better.

phoebusg's avatar

@Trillian but simply quoting it often does not give away your interpretation of the quote. Do you underline what, how you see the quote fitting, or it it open to anyone’s interpretation?

Trillian's avatar

I guess you’d have to go back and read the particular threads. I give a big enough chunk to say what I feel about whatever the topic happens to be. I don’t know how to underline here. I also don’t feel the need to give my interpretation of Gibran. I believe him to be fully self explanatory.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@phoebusg -I make my living as an artist.I am able to communicate an idea without using any words.Therefore,I am always appreciative of short and sweet when it comes to words..People that can write well or speak well are able to in my opinion ,get their idea across simply and succinctly…or they risk putting their audience in a coma ;)

phoebusg's avatar

@Trillian we often think others have the underlying information we do. To really understand a quote, you have to often understand its context. And of course, you have more context in regards to this author. At least to me, never read him to date. :)

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Trillian I’m not bashing quoting others, I understand how someone else can say something better than you. I’m trying to speak solely within the context of a formal debate, whether it be political or whatever, on a certain issue.

I can see what I’m trying to say in my mind but it’s not coming out very well. And I certainly would never assume or think you’re too stupid to think for yourself.

phoebusg's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille though art is amazing, and I love it. It is – like short comments, open to a very broad interpretation. It’s nice when the audience arrives at the intended message, but if you really look at it. It’ll vary greatly from viewer to viewer.

That said, both approaches are nice. Though in a discussion I prefer the pristine – detailed route. It’s not a competition for writing, we do our best given our ability.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@drhat77 -I know!There is so much that MT has written and said that still holds true to this day:)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@phoebusg -Pristine to me,would be short and sweet.Minimal words to get an idea across is like a heavanly gift..If the speaker is merciful,they will keep it that way.lol!As for art,mine in particular,it usually does not matter to me if someone gets my original intent.Even when exchanging ideas with someone,the bottom line is that I will do what I wish regardless of whether or not they want to take the time to understand my point of view :)

Trillian's avatar

@phoebusg I understand that, but there are far too many people out there to try and condescend to explain. I suppose I’d field questions regarding specifics if they came up.
@tragiclikebowie Yeah, I apologize. I probably should stay away today. I’m really not at my best, having had a very rough night. I’m probably taking offense where I needn’t. However, I believe if you were to look back to any of the places where I had quoted the man, you ‘d understand what I was thinking at the time and would really require no further explanation. Here’s a bit that may apply here;

On Self-Knowledge
Kahlil Gibran
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

drhat77's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille – but isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? so aren’t you, in fact, being excessively verbose with your art?

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I like how you put that. You can communicate without words so you don’t really have much use for them, haha :P It makes a lot of sense why would like Mark Twain then. The man was very blunt.

@Trillian I don’t believe I’ve ever read any Gibran but I like that very much. I understand how you can say he articulates what you feel. It’s very Taoist it seems, if I’m not mistaken. I’m sorry for your rough night, I hope today is better for you!

phoebusg's avatar

@Trillian beautiful quote and casing point. Though I definitely disagree that the self is boundless, or measureless. Just because we can’t measure it yet ;)

Cruiser's avatar

@phoebusg Passion in discourse for me is the spice of communication. Just like food tastes better with seasoning and even heated…the passion simply adds another dimension to that discussion and especially debate. Just consider how much is lost in simply being confined to typing our words here no matter how well though out and presented and how a mere inflection would change the whole meaning of these words I type.

phoebusg's avatar

@Cruiser I have more questions from your new answer than originally.
I think what you’re saying is that we’re lacking the modifying nature of emotional information, aka voice intonation and body language that can make up to 60% of the information passed in communication.

Communicating through a written medium, however, you have to be as clear and pristine as you can with words. Emotions will be mistaken every time, most people will not know how that emotion is affecting your interpretation or idea.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@drhat77 -Nahhh…sometimes a painting of a ‘32 Ford is just that.A ‘32 Ford :)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@tragiclikebowie -I liked that about MT :)
As for words?They are wonderful as long as they’re not of the bullshit variety ;)

phoebusg's avatar

@drhat77 verbose – but with very high variability. As in each of the viewers will ‘see’ different thousands of words.

But taken to another medium, american sign language, you can be as detailed and verbose with that. Because like any other language-based system. It has intricate rules that allow for generative language to occur. Anything can be discussed – but also with a low variability and high reliability.

phil196662's avatar

Compromise is my big first when discussing anything! sometimes it takes multiple ideas to solve something and when it is solved the ideas make the issue better than before.

Always have more input for a better cure!

CMaz's avatar

I see most conversation of mutual benefit. No matter what.

I do not just hear or read the words. I tend to read the person too.

wundayatta's avatar

The best discourse, in my opinion, is one in which everyone is heard. It is one in which everyone is an expert I am not at all fond of using stages and podiums and that sort of thing to establish a hierarchy within the room.

I like a kind of modified talking stick method. In this method, everyone is guaranteed to be heard as long as they want to talk. Once everyone has been heard, then the idea bouncing can happen.

By having everyone be heard first, you establish a couple of things, First everyone is equal. Second, there is an atmosphere of respect in the ensuing conversation.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes someone doesn’t get the idea of respect and they take too much time or wander off topic. Sometimes someone is too aggressive – they just don’t get it. They think they are there for arguments (the person I have in mind is a lawyer—go figure).

If a group meets for a long period of time, a community starts to form. A culture develops. People learn how to help each other support the culture of the group.

When you do it this way, everyone is an expert. Their expertise comes from their life. No one can impeach your life experiences, so there can be no argument. And if a person tries to say you didn’t experience what you experienced—well, I think everyone will laugh.

I believe that a large portion of what I know or have figured out in life comes from such situations. Yes, I’ve been in lectures and watch shows on TV, but the most valuable knowledge I believe comes from mutually created knowledge.

Trillian's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Hi toots! Saw your posts earlier. I like MT too. (so there!) ;-)
@wundayatta Salutations! Runnin late!

rottenit's avatar

Its like of like a strip tease, I like to give them a bit at a time and wait for the rest.

phoebusg's avatar

@wundayatta nice reply. As a note – I really like the term – we’re all student-teachers to we’re all experts. I think it is a bit more humble. Being expert, puts pressure on ‘being right’ – somewhat.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction truth from diction. The discourse I seek is an expanded debate of ideals on a logical level, one that can be conducted calm and civil with out insult.

Cruiser's avatar

@phoebusg I agree with what you are saying. I almost never get into disagreements over what I say in person….but here on the web it happens almost weekly because of the missing elements of inflection and body language. Speaking of…I can “read” more meaning and the true meaning behind what people are saying and not saying just from body language alone where tone and inflection is mere window dressing and not always part of the true meaning of what is said.

I also see hand waving now more than ever! Why is that?

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