The Argument Tree

I love to argue and people hate to argue with me.  I used to argue on social media.  I stopped doing that.  Social media never scratched that itch.

We don’t know how to argue with one another face to face.  Facebook only makes it worse.  The human is disembodied and filtered through servers, wires and wifi.  Distance.

Lack of decency aside, I find the design of a thread a perfect way to hide behind your preconceived notions.  There is a dark side to arguments and facebook has made that dark side darker.

Arguing is a bitter taste on most everyone’s mouth.  I get that.  I see where it comes from.  I’ve been guilty myself of getting overzealous on social media and said things that I wouldn’t have said to another person face to face.

Facebook can’t be blamed for the lack of popularity to arguments.  They have been out of vogue for as long as I’ve been alive.

Good thing that the rabbis of Yavneh, Tiberias and Babylon didn’t have the same opinion about arguing.  Where would our tradition be without arguments?  The entire Talmud is a collection of arguments.  No arguments, no Talmud.

Pirkei Avot advocates for arguments for the sake of heaven.  As far as our tradition says, there are good arguments to be had.

I think what frustrates people the most when arguing that there always seems to come to an impasse.  “You think this way.  I think that way.  We’ve run into this wall enough times.  Let’s just agree to  disagree.”

What if argument is a tree?  Trees have branches on the top and roots on the bottom.  In the middle of the tree is the trunk where the branches and roots shoot out of.

If argument is a tree, it doesn’t matter how far up a branch one’s position is and how far down the root the opponent’s position is.  At the very least they can always meet at the oneness of the trunk.

If we were convinced that no matter how many turns the argument takes, at some point there is going to be a consensus.  This consensus might take place at seemingly endless twists and turns down the tree’s branches or up the tree’s roots before the thesis and antithesis become synthesis.  Or it could have just taken three steps down a branch before the two meet.  Either way, you learn about the tree and where you are on the tree.

Where can I find an argument like that?