Wednesday, April 24, 2013


To my son Tommy,

Everyone thinks they use logic.  This is very far from the truth.  But you can never convince people that their "logic" is flawed or wrong.  I shouldn't say never but most make it a very difficult task.  They will spout off with diarrhea of the mouth (or in the computer world of social media...keys) and say they won a battle with logic.  And if you point out that they aren't making any sense they will say they have backed you in a corner using some type of undeniable logical argument when really you are just sitting back going "Huh?" because you don't speak idiot.  Yet somehow the enlightened try to reach out over and over again until their frustration bubbles over and then even the teachers give in to stupidity.  At this point you can feel your own IQ dropping to the level of the absurd donkey you are arguing with and you have to, for the sake of your own sanity, disengage even though this blockhead will think it is a victory and it will only stoke his deranged ego and self importance.  Your mother recently got into one of these battles (not with the stubborn lunkhead known as your father but some other blockhead) and bless her heart she keeps trying to reach out and explain to people.  Sorry to use a reference to a classic movie that you will have to look up later in your life and go all Cool Hand Luke on you but, "Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. And I don't like it anymore than you men."   I personally write off people way too quick when it comes to arguing and just hope that their "logic" will lead them to toast bread in a bathtub or some other Darwinian form of correction that gives me hope for our species.

The first lesson of this is to not be that arrogant in your own logic.  Assume it is flawed at all times and that you can learn and make it better.  Humble yourself in your thoughts so you can better yourself and abandon your own wrong logic.  See arguments and perspectives from as many vantage points as possible.  Don't blindly accept other people's arguments or points without truly bringing it in to your own personal point of view.  In the immortal words of Walt Whitman in Song Of Myself
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
The second lesson is it is easier to work with nature than against.  Nature says that everyone thinks they are smart and logical and correct and when you try to tell someone they are wrong nature says "Defend".  Use this knowledge as a weapon in life.  Instead of going right at them use your judo of the mind.  You can bang your head against a their wall of logic, but the best part about banging your head against a wall is how good it feels when you stop.  The funny thing is when you stop trying to topple their wall of rubbish they call logic, and walk away, they will tear down or abandon their own walls to follow you because they want someone to play their silly game.  So you may come to the question, "Why even bother arguing?" which is a great question and that leads us to our last lesson for the day.

The point of an argument is to persuade people to your side.  If you make an argument and you only manage to re-convince yourself, you cannot claim a victory.  If the only people that are persuaded to your camp were already on your side before you began arguing, you are not winning.  Only Charlie Sheen could pretend to claim to be winning in those circumstances.  If the person you presented your logic to goes deeper into their position, you have gone so far away from winning the argument it isn't even funny.  If no one from the other side acknowledges any of your positions as valid,  you have not made progress for anyone and you have wasted each others time.  To the contrary of what many believe, arguments are supposed to be tools to find the truth and search for common sense.  Many just use them to pick fights and make themselves feel better and fill themselves with self congratulatory celebration. Too many fools start arguments for just those reasons.  But be careful, to continue arguing with a fool you risk ending up as the bigger fool.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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