this mistake is the root of all arguments. you make it too. — COM105a

(for context and the story of my realisation below, please read this story on the TEDxRamallah open blog)

all arguments start before anyone begins talking.

let’s suppose I’m explaining to you the root of all arguments. you would expect and assume that what I’m saying is true. almost everyone would.

what happens next is simple: all of us believe that there could only be one truth about any one topic. so you take this truth that you’re reading now and you compare it to the truth you have about this topic. if it matches, you nod, and if it doesn’t you say: “but no…” and the endless, pointless argument starts. communication stops. from this point on, everything i say stops being a truth, and becomes a lie. your eyes might still be reading this, but your mind is completely in denial. why? because there could only be one truth.

now if what I’m claiming to be the root of all arguments matches with your truth of the topic, then you’re still listening and waiting for the cure.

and the cure is simple, instead of assuming that what I’m telling you is true, assume that what I’m telling you is what I feel and think about this topic; my experience. and since we all believe that 2 people can feel and think 2 different things about the same topic, then there’s no clash. even if you do compare it with your bank of knowledge, and it turns out to be different, it doesn’t clash, and instead of saying: “but no…” you’d say: “for me it’s different…” or “I understand, and I see it differently…” or “u have a point there, I never saw it that way…”. and instead of an argument, you’d get a constructive conversation, and even sometimes a constructive debate. and at all times, your mind would still be listening.

people never share truths. they share what they believe to be true. they share their feelings, their thoughts, their experiences. and assuming these to be “the truth” will lead to an argument. take them as they are: feelings, thoughts, experiences.

that’s why very few people can actually communicate with each other. and that’s why all arguments start before anyone begins talking. now you know how to prevent it.

post-requisite: people expect to hear a truth – how to prepare their minds for an experience with these 9 steps? — COM105b


yours, will

twitter: @williamchoukeir

p.s. more advanced and soon: why there isn’t one truth about any topic -and- how the scientific method destroyed our ability to communicate


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6 Responses to this mistake is the root of all arguments. you make it too. — COM105a

  1. Anonymous says:

    so true…. never thought about it in that way before. Although, this is quite difficult to do…I have a specific topic in mind here..religion. What you have said above, is quite difficult to do when you’re faced with people who would NOT reciprocate it back. As in…I could see their view as what they FEEL to be true, but they would always believe their truth to be the ONE and ONLY truth. Makes it hard for me to be understanding lol.

  2. Anonymous says:

    but I guess that’s pretty selfish of me isn’t it? I should be understanding to BE understanding….it shouldn’t be a bargain "I’ll be understanding if you are too"…something to think about!

  3. Anonymous says:

    <html><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>one side believing itself to be the absolute truth is always healthier than 2 sides each believing itself to be the absolute truth.</div><div><br></div><div>be proud to be contributing to healthier communications, even if the other side isn't. :-)??<span class="Apple-style-span" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); ">you also do have the choice not to get involved in argument.</span></div> <div><br></div></body></html>

  4. Anonymous says:

    <html><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>well said nat :)<br></div><div><br></div><div></div><blockquote type="cite"><div> <div style="width: 600px; font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;" class="PosterousEmail"></div></div></body></html>

  5. Rasha Salman says:

    Beautiful point, beautiful explanation.. I agree but find it difficult to express it so clearly, so that I have a constructive conversation instead of an argument.. most of the time vvhen I feel I am unable to communicate, I give up on it completely… but vvhen that becomes habit, life gets a bit lonely…anyvvay, thanks for the post. love,rasha

  6. Anonymous says:

    <html><head></head><body style="word-wrap: break-word; -webkit-nbsp-mode: space; -webkit-line-break: after-white-space; "><div>thank you rasha 🙂 what you said is so true. there’s a note coming up in the next few days that covers what ‘you’ can do if the ‘other’ person is expecting a truth from you, and is disappointed anything you say something. i hope it’ll make things a bit easier to deal with.</div><br><div><div></div></div></body></html>

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