Monday, December 31, 2007

The elephant has left the living room

Excellent post by Bear-i-tone over at Spirit's Sword on arguing elephants with blind men Obviously he has spent some time in academia and knows his topic. Often it is difficult to have a discussion/debate in today's society. Not only are few interested in debating a point versus blindly trying to convince everyone of their own intellectual superiority. But as Bear points out, most ignore any facts that make the debate difficult. It has to be either-or, black or white, good or evil.
Were deconstruction simply a lie we would have an easier time combating it. But it has its points, and those who hold these points run into a problem like the men in the legend: they see only deconstruction. Further, they also have a problem that is quite rife in modern academia: the disregarded middle. To put it simply, it is easiest and clearest to argue black or white on any issue, rather than grey. It is easiest to argue all or nothing, rather than some. As soon as the question of "some" arrives, it is almost immediately followed by "how much?" and "Where do we draw the line?" These questions are difficult to answer, difficult to uphold and nearly impossible to defend. So the modern academic very often pretends these questions does not exist. Therefore, only the extreme is reality. Anything in between is discarded. The problem is, the extreme is often absurd. You can find yourself arguing, with all seriousness, that an elephant is a large plant. Even more absurd, you may find yourself wondering how you can argue against someone who believes, in all seriousness, that an elephant is a large plant.
And yes, they are so confused they will actually believe their own twisted rational.

And if you think I am kidding, just visit a few sites dedicated to either fringe. It won't take long to find the lost skill of debate missing.

1 comment:

Bear-i-tone said...

Thanks for the link.

I did spend a long time in academia. I try not to think about it these days.