Verbal Jousting

You may notice that, in this blog incarnation, I am loath to get too involved with discussions about current events, sticking more to poetry, short fiction (sometimes insanely short fiction), and bits of nonsensical recollections about things far removed from the world today (other than to bitch about missing certain things or to point out the foils of some of the current popular items of interest). Sure, I’ve delved into the occasional rage against the system, especially when things got so absurd late last year that my choices were to shout or to melt. But, on the balance, I have attempted to eschew modern-day controversy.

It wasn’t always that way. In what was one of my first blogs, I regularly railed against such things such as the government getting involved in a man’s decision that his wife would not want to be in a coma after some 10 years of her being in a coma and only alive because machines were keeping her alive (while her birth family sought an injunction from the government to keep her plugged in against the odds that she would regain consciousness and suddenly not need the machines). Or the subways bombings by terrorists. Or ranting against the opening of waging war on multiple fronts on weak evidence that (later) ended up being false evidence.

I can get my panties in a bunch quite nicely. There’s plenty to be mad about in this world, and now there are even “alternate facts” so you can choose your own flavor of “vive la révolution” to rally behind.

The problem is, especially after these most recent four years, I am absolutely exhausted by the thought of arguing any particular position. Part of it is some of the absolute stupidity of some of positions people are taking entirely untethered from anything resembling reality (George Carlin: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that”. Heinlein: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity”). In those cases, there is no point in arguing with someone who refuses to critically think for themselves and just parrots whatever pabulum has been shoved in the cavity that normally holds a brain — you can’t argue with indoctrination, especially when it comes to willful ignorance. It usually devolves, quite quickly, from logical debate to fists flying — because the last resort of someone unable to reason their argument is violence to coerce others into eating the same mealy gruel. That’s not worth my time and I certainly don’t need to add physical injuries or a slight case of death to my already prevalent physical ailments.

The fatigue with senseless, pointless argument (as opposed to reasoned debate) has pervaded my being so much that I tend to avoid all verbal jousting these days and largely automatically surrender to whatever viewpoint is counter to my own. And then, change the subject as quickly as possible to avoid resentment on my part. The surrender may be nothing more than the equivalent of “Well, isn’t it great that the world is full of so many opinions! If you were stranded on an island, what is the one book you would consider essential to be stuck with?”, but it may also involve letting the other person go on for a bit until they see there is no fight to be had with me about most things, which tends to make it a boring event for them and they move on of their own accord to subject matters I’m more willing to engage in.

That approach stands with my immediate and extended families as well. I’m tired of being outraged and argumentative. So, when someone brings up something about what what one politician did at such and such an event, or whatever PC faux pas I committed that I should have picked up via osmosis gets mentioned, I will more often than not check out of the conversation. “You’re obviously correct, sorry. How’s the weather where you’re at?”

And, not only am I exhausted by arguments, but I just no longer see the value in them. You believe what you believe, and I have my own thoughts about the matter, and I agree to disagree — now let’s find something we have in common to talk about. I’d rather discuss commonality than disunity.

Argument and debate has a role to play in the world. I think, however, more often than not it is just an exercise in egotism where two or more people shout at the void, “I exist!”, when it was obvious all along that they exist — not independently as their declarations would have you believe, but dependently with each person defining the other.

And, I’ve gotten more than happy to not participate in making my throat sore for all the void-yelling.

10 thoughts on “Verbal Jousting

  1. Either way, I have to wonder about the state of the world when people won’t discuss important subjects like politics and religion but go on and on about what celebrity ate what baby when and who’s dating who and check this out I can dance like every other fucking person on tik-tok.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well stated. I too am a big fan of the late Carlin (RIP dear sir). Also, the familial arguments I have tired of; it seems it is more important to ‘win’ than to learn. I try to learn and keep an open mind, but I too have given up on trying to reason with the inanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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