I heard that spoken during the movie, Thank You for Smoking . The day after that, I was in a restaurant and a sign on the door said, “If a man speaks and there is no woman there to tell him he is wrong, is he?” Twice, in a couple of days, a similar themed message made me stop in my tracks.
Why, you ask, did they stop me? They stopped me because I like to talk and “argue”. In Thank You for Smoking, the lead character spends his life spinning arguments that make you question what you believe to be true by showing you another side. It does not matter that the side he is presenting is right or wrong. He doesn’t really care. He finds one nugget that has truth to it and focuses all his skill around it, warping your grasp of what you believe to be true.
With the sign on the wall, I thought; if I am alone with my thoughts and beliefs, am I right or wrong? It does not matter if I am a man or a woman. What matters is what I know to be fact or what I believe to be fact. If I am alone with no one to question me or correct me, then whatever I think becomes truth. It is so easy to get wrapped up in, my side or your side, when the reality is there is a right side that has some nugget of truth from both sides in it.
Arguing does not have to have a negative meaning. Dictionary.com defines argue as, Give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view. With that definition, you would think anyone with a few facts and a gift with words can win every argument. I challenge you to dispute that premise.
If you read my last blog post I posed that you cannot see the picture when you are in the frame. The same holds true to arguments. If the answer really matters to you, do the research, gather the facts and decide what is the truth based on the realities, not how well someone presents their argument. Step outside yourself and what you think you know and look at the info objectively. Just because someone says it is true does not make it automatically true.
Some of the best debaters in the world could argue vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream and convince the majority of people to start eating vanilla but is their argument really true? For me, it will always be chocolate no matter how good the argument for vanilla! My emotions and taste buds will always lead me back to chocolate despite the facts of the argument.
Granted sometimes it is easy to determine right from wrong or fact from fiction. Sometimes the news broadcasts are right and other times they are not. Sometimes your husband is right and sometimes your wife is right. In the end, we all believe what we want to believe. The facts don’t often matter but the emotions those facts stir up do. What do you think?