With Mr. Pond & Jenna St. Hilaire
"In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane"
I love discussion for discussion's sake. One of my greatest frustrations in life is when groups collect to 'solve' some small problem - The Healthiest Diet and How to Raise Children are the most common and the most likely to cause a fight - and insist on "coming to a consensus". It's not in my nature to "come to consensus" I guess, or maybe the topics on which a group can come to consensus are generally boring and not worth the time spent on them. So I don't participate in our discussion in order to attempt forming us into a consensus of mutual compromise and resentment. I don't necessarily participate in order to hear (or read) my own voice, though honestly, I have a blog, so obviously I like reading my own words and promoting my own opinion. So why the discussion? I like the interchange of ideas. I like the possibility for growth and change. But on Monday, Jenna wrote that argument "never convinces anyone, any more than the opposing arguments convince me. Minds develop, they don't often change." And that distracted me. It actually disturbed me a bit, when I first read it. I like minds that change, not on essentials - the things that have been wrestled with - but even then, should we wrestle again and again, getting stronger and wiser each time?
"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative"
But Jenna is not unimaginative, so I assume she's referring to certain weak arguments, like those I enjoyed so much in Mr. O'Brien. And she's right, those arguments don't convince, well, they do, but they really shouldn't.
"A man who doesn't think for himself doesn't think at all"
But what arguments do convince, and how do they convince? Because some of them have to. Minds change, often and for good reason. I want to delve into this a bit, if Jenna and Mr. Pond will agree to. What is the purpose of discussion, of argument, of this little discussion? How do minds' change, and when, and why?