A friend sent me a link about a research where people camped in nature for a week and discovered that their sleep patterns synched with the rising and setting of the Sun. Having accepted myself as a natural night owl, I promptly dismissed this research in my mind and didn’t finish reading the article. I’d read research in the past about chronotypes and other articles, talks and books (Medina – Brain Rules) that explained that small percentage of people are natural night owls and I had accepted this belief.
Regardless of whether this new article would in reality conflict with my previous beliefs, I was so glad have caught myself dismissing this new info purely because it didn’t “resonate with me”. This happens all the time to all of us. And most of the time we are not even aware of it and we end up going along with some belief that is not only incorrect, but can sometimes even be harmful to us. Yet we take ourselves seriously about what we know. Here’s the thing: all humans have are beliefs. It’s just a matter of how close our beliefs and understandings come to what is really going on out there. Surrounded by an ocean of online information and “popularity contests” through social networks, we are bombarded with information. Most people barely have time in their busy lives to finish reading a blog like this, let alone put the time into the subject matter and check out in detail any reference links. Even if they did, would they know how to tell apart a trusting source from an untrusting one or to discern well framed reasonings from ones that are flooded with hard to spot logical fallacies?
How many times have you seen a debate, where you loved and praised the person you supported and were annoyed by and scorned the person that you were not supporting? This is because debates are by definition constructed to produce this result. The point of a debate is for each side to use any means to persuade the other side until one prevails with a “superior context”, rather than to find understanding or even common ground in one another’s viewpoints.
Debates are about winning an argument, rather than creating mutual agreement, even if the agreement is at least: to agree to disagree. If someone listens to understand the other side, it’s in order to find ways to argue against it.