For Homework tonight, I spent some time talking about the state of the world with a nomadic lady who's living out of her car and traveling around the country. Her belief is that the world is ready for "the big change" to a New Age dream world. Also, we're moving out of the Illuminati-controlled world which was spearheaded in the US by Donald Trump. And the Illuminati are 13 power families including the Rockefellers and Rothschilds.
Although I didn't actually debate her, I give myself bonus points for hearing her out and asking probing questions and not scoffing at her marvelously non-specific statements and beliefs. Indeed, it makes me want to look into the Illuminati , which I've long heard of but mostly ignored.
Happy comfort zone expanding!
Listened to a hyperbolic scare tactic interview over the COVID vaccine this morning. The wild claims, accusations, and warnings went on for over an hour.
Started thinking about fact-checking that and realized I could never prove most of it to be true, and some of it was wildly inaccurate or misleading.
Continued thinking about Mark's statement about not listening to people who tell me how to interpret the events that happened and realized that CSpan (c-span.org) is a good place to hear what people actually said, rather than listening to the spin.
For my homework, I decided to take on the challenge (mistake) of debating my mother on some political issues, and various other things going that she apparently bothered/heated by. I kept myself from getting bothered by her irrational emotions on the issues and came from a place of calm and decided to hear her out completely. I was able to actually dig out a couple of her sources of info. And I know that most of these sources (Facebook) are known for being false or showing things only at one angle ( the emotional angle only). Not known for cold/hard facts. I stopped my self from being condescending and trying to prove I'm right your wrong to more of a compassionate neutral type vibe. I gently guided her to question her source material as why it might be not as accurate as portrayed. I didn't submit to her views, but nor did I try to change as it would be waste of my energy. Recognizing the person you're talking to may not have the capacity to see things another way in the moment is a skill I think.
Debating is healthy, but I'm not going to loose my footing over it. Thats not the guy I am anymore. I'd much rather workout, or do some sexy pleasure stuff.
Had discussion with a one of my pack members about texting/sexting women. He had his view, I had mine, I decided to take his way and try his style out with a woman I just recently met at the grocery store. He said the way I text women after meeting them is a bit weak sauce and could be improved. I didn't think it was, but I decided to keep an open mind and take his advice. Turns out, he was right, I was fucking wrong. Got a much better and juicy response his way of texting and communicating on this medium.
Lesson learned: test out what a person says/claims out and see if it works or doesn't work. Be humble, understand there's more efficient ways to do things. Then thank them for their feedback.
It was a fun week in that I spent most of my time talking with strangers on whatever subject interested them. To that end, I was not trying to persuade someone to my viewpoint but to rather listen to their story. I took the opportunity to ask probing questions to get the speaker to clarify their position and to think through what they just stated.
Interesting how many opinions are based on emotions or facts from questionable sources. I heard right and left wing conspiracy theories about our government, how the rich are the evildoers of the world, one man getting flooded out of his apartment, and how one ladies church is helping out the poor in this time of need.
It was a quiet time for me to reflect on all of these subjects and how I got to my own opinions on so many subjects. Finding good, honest, non-biased sources of information is difficult these days as news has transcended to opinion pieces trying to persuade you to their belief systems.
Keeping Perspective Homework - Debate in public (on Facebook, in this case). I posted the following:
I was offered the following two observations today in an online class I'm taking, and I was wondering what my friends here might think about them. Are they accurate? No rants please, just thoughtful replies.
1. "Conservatives are looking to conserve or preserve something of value, and that something of value happened in the past, and exists up to now. If we don't conserve these, bad things are going to happen, and we're going to lose these valuable things."
2. "Progressives are looking to progress from a painful past filled with imbalances and injustices, hypocrisy and contradictions, and we have to progress from these for us to have a fantastic future."
Even though I rarely post such things, it all went pretty well. One hard conservative replied, and one hard progressive, plus a few others. I framed my responses in terms of freedom - does this position from this group leave us more, or less free, as "We the People" in this imperfect union.
And yes, I'm cross-training; this was from one of the two other online classes I'm taking right now, amassing power so I'm ready when the opportunity presents itself.
I like your approach and it will give you a lot of different perspectives.
I would encourage you to try and do it in person as well. It will give you an opportunity to think on "your feet" so to speak and you can observe the other person's emotional state and realize if they are just repeating something they heard before or actually thinking through their response. Too many people are like a wind-up monkey just regurgitating what they heard elsewhere and not fully absorbing or understanding their position.
It gives you a great opportunity to learn about people, your own thoughts, and how to have a calm discussion while still getting your points across.
But I also like to be the sand in the gears and throwout two positions, as you did, and then discuss why they are both wrong. Gives you an opportunity to think about deeply held beliefs.
Before I share my anecdote of engaging with someone on the opposite side of view, I'd like to highlight some key ideas I try to keep in mind to maintain perspective.
What is the ideal outcome of this interaction?
Is it more important to be “right” and lose a good friend, or just ignore it and focus your energy elsewhere?
Is this interaction an obstacle to be avoided, or a challenge to be overcome?
Don’t let the opinions of unsuccessful people hold you back or influence you
I’m not one to completely ignore someone, even if I strongly disagree with them. However, if that person is unsuccessful in all aspects of his life, I won’t give his opinion much thought
If you want to explore the opposite side of an idea/argument, seek successful people.
Sometimes disagreements are really just a difference of priorities
To give an example, consider pollution from power plants.
Nobody wants to live next to a coal power plant. Nobody wants expensive and unreliable energy. Prioritizing “clean” (which is another loaded word that is meant to short circuit critical thinking …. But I don’t want this post to go down the rabbit hole) energy at all costs will have some less than desirable second-order effects (ie expensive and unreliable energy).
The point is, identifying priorities and ranking them for both yourself and the audience you are engaging with is a useful exercise.
Personally, here is my broad priority list:
3. Friends and Like-minded People
Until you prioritize yourself (find your purpose, exercise, eat well, etc), your perspective and influence elsewhere will be less than ideal.
The 48 Hour Rule
If there is ever a bombshell report about somebody or something, you should wait 48 hours to form an opinion. Given the 24/7 news cycle designed to generate clicks, something might be incorrect. 48 hours allows the aggrieved individual to state his case or have the news source retract its statement.
When to Listen to “Experts”
Experts are useful when situations are simple or bear strong resemblance to a past historical event.
Experts are not useful for dealing with complex issues, new phenomena that bear no resemblance to historical events, or scenarios when “experts” disagree.
Sometimes news sources will ascribe the label of “Expert” to short circuit your critical thinking.
Case in point, the individual in charge of the LA County Covid Response demands that she be referred to as a Doctor. She has no medical background, but she did earn a Doctorate in Social Justice. To my knowledge, prior to her current appointment, she never had to make economic decisions. Moreover, the consequences of her decisions do not impact her job performance as evaluated by those in power.
Being Absolutely Right and Spectacularly Wrong Feel Exactly the Same Way
I try to acknowledge that I could be wrong.
Two questions I try to ask myself before forming an opinion are
1. What if I was wrong?
2. What information would be necessary for me to change my mind?
A book I highly recommend on maintaining perspective is "Loserthink" by Scott Adams
Homework - Discussion with Someone on the Opposite Side of Spectrum
This post is not intended to promote one idea over another, but rather to highlight the engagement.
I have a very intelligent buddy from college. He is the CEO and founder of a startup that does predictive battery analytics for satellites. He is successful in certain aspects of his life. Long story short, politics came up when we were catching up with each other. Two topics came up.
1. Did election fraud happen this election?
My buddy believes that absolutely no fraud happened this election. The crux of his argument was that widespread fraud had never happened before, therefore our current system is sufficiently resilient against all potential fraud that could change an election.
I argued that there is insufficient information to come to that conclusion. However, people make decisions based upon their beliefs (which include the risk of discovery and risk of punishment) and the incentives exist for fraud. Moreover, it seems that every government system in the USA has been hacked or compromised in the last few years.
I highlighted a bunch of red flags and posed several questions that he could not answer definitively.
The basis of my argument was that most fraud does not randomly appear. Evidence only comes into being after red flags are investigated. The biggest red flag to me is the coordination between Big Tech and a major political party to silence all opposition.
He didn't change my mind. I didn't change his mind, but I did sow seeds of doubt. Plus we are still friends.
2. Is the movement behind Donald Trump inherently racist?
My very intelligent buddy is thoroughly convinced that Donald Trump is a racist. I argued that I could not read his mind (which leaves the possibility of racism open), and I provided concrete evidence that is incongruent with that assessment.
I suggested that the "evidence of racism" (eg travel bans) provided by my buddy could be explained without any discussion of race.
I also suggested that Donald Trump is an equal opportunity offender with his rhetoric.
I didn't change his mind, but I do believe that he is second-guessing his initial assessment.
Even if you do have an opinion, it might be better to tactically suggest that you don't have enough information to come to a conclusion. Instead of positioning yourself as an "enemy", you position yourself as a seeker of truth.
Questions are the best way to discover the truth and cast doubt on strongly held opinions.
Sounds like you were speaking from a set of facts and the barber was speaking from hearsay or emotions. That type of discussion is difficult to persuade anyone from but at the same time, you did the right thing by pointing out the information currently available.
For most people, the vaccines will be safe and efficacious. The problem will arise when people who are not healthy, to begin with, take the vaccines and have adverse reactions. The biased press will run with it as if the vaccine is at fault and not the frail health of the individual taking the vaccine.
Personally, I am a high-risk patient who recently had cancer and previously Epstein Bar Virus as an adult. I will wait for the adverse reporting data before I take the vaccine. My previous health issues will make me contemplate the risk of the vaccine vs. getting the virus. Herd immunity will be in my favor in the long run. B But each person is differnt and will have to evaluate their personal health history. Your barber doesn't know of what he speaks.
Homework - Debate Others
Topic: Covid-19 and Safety of Vaccine
Speaking to my Barber this weekend while getting my haircut and the topic of getting the Covid Vaccine came up. Figured it would be a good time to get perspective on what others may believe about it. I've already gotten 1 of 2 doses of the vaccine due to my current job in health care, my stance is that the vaccine is beneficial even if it helps to sway public opinion on the safety of interacting with others and opens up travel.
My Barber's stance is that the vaccine is being rolled out too quickly and the public can't trust governement or pharamaceutical companies to do the right thing. He is also worried that it may cause infertility. He also claimed that the virus is being exaggerated and may even be a hoax as he doesn't know anyone who was hospitilized with it.
I argued in a detached manner that the vaccinee I recieved is safe in that I was provided was mRNA and not the live virus, as the actual infection has been shown to cause testicular inflammation which may lead to infertility. In regards to the virus being a hoax, I argued that people are dying from Covid and that the mortality rate is much higher when compared to the flu.
Upon reflection I realize that my narrative comes from what information I've researched myself on scientific journals and information from my employer.
Thinking who benefits - big pharma companies who are rolling out their vaccine product and getting federal grants, goverments if able to convince population to take the vaccine and decrease burden on the health care system, travel industry if public perception is that it's safe to travel with a massive vaccination program in place.