Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Spaghetti Analogy on Finding Falsehood in a Discussion

As I grow older, whenever people are giving discussions – in seminars, classes, lectures, symposiums, talks, sermons, etc. – I really do my best to just politely listen and simply take the helpful and thoughtful things from it, and just ignore the opposite.  This wasn’t always the case.  When I was younger, I immediately express displeasure whenever a discussant provides details which I happen to know are shallow, flawed, or simply pure bullcrap.  I try to be less obnoxious these days.  If nothing evidently good can come out of snapping out a sharp remark about it, I try to bite my tongue as much as I can (if I fail, the offense is likely to be so unforgivable that I can’t help myself).

Still, I find it frustrating when discussants fail to put more thought on the topic and verify information more keenly.  As much as I want to separate the positive from the negative aspects, it’s a struggle for me to get past the fact that a discussant would pass an erroneous or bogus detail as something genuine in order to conveniently deliver a point.  Whether this is due to the discussant’s own ignorance and failure to be more scrutinizing or an attempt to fool/manipulate the listeners whom the discussant assumes are ignorant, both reasons are unacceptable.  Even if an actual bigger truth can come out of the discussion, I’m going to find the whole thing unrewarding or, worse, appalling.

Picture a plate of spaghetti.  Everything about it is edible and harmless except for a strand of spaghetti noodle, which happens to be poisonous.  The plate of spaghetti isn’t totally poisonous.  But that doesn’t matter anymore.  Having just one poisonous noodle strand in it has made it impossible to still eat the plate of spaghetti.

Such is my problem with finding a piece of falsehood in one’s discussion.

No comments: