I love a good discussion, don’t you?
I love to talk with people about most anything stimulating, invigorating, whether or not we agree. I love a mutually enriching exchange of ideas where it’s more important to share than to be “right”. I love discussion over debate.
I see debate as an either/or; as an I’m right/you’re wrong or you’re right/I’m wrong encounter. When it comes to debate, I simply don’t. I don’t have an agenda. I don’t want to be right, and for two very good reasons; debate closes down meaningful exchange; debate alienates us. We gain nothing.
I see discussion as a mutually nourishing, mutually enriching experience regardless of what’s being discussed simply because there is no agenda. There is no need to be “right”, or to “win”. In discussion I can engage in exchange on subjects about which I hold an opposite view. In discussion I can hang in there and really listen because I’m not trying to convince anyone that my way is “the only way”. I’m engaged to listen, to share, to exchange.
In fact discussions about which I don’t agree on everything are incredibly stimulating, nourishing, and enlarging for me. I find myself listening deeply without feeling threatened. I find I wanting to really hear what others are saying, what the really mean, and why they hold their views. And whether or not we agree, we part friends. Agreement isn’t the point – exchange is.
I believe it takes far more courage to discuss than to debate. We all have opinions. We all have views. I certainly do. That’s part of what makes us human. But most debate, it seems to me, is little more than a fight or flight response. We’re afraid or feel threatened so we attack. In discussion we visit ideas about which we may not agree. To do so may enlarge our deepest understanding about why others hold their particular view so precious. That often takes incredible courage.
Do I discuss anything? No, of course not. As curious as I am about life and the meaning of the universe ;), there are indeed topics about which I have absolutely no interest.
I have no use for politics, mere religion (as opposed to faith), or even most “news” (I used to work in broadcast news). But if you want to discuss things like faith, art, and science, for example, I’m your man. I love to talk about Galileo, his work, and the Roman Catholic Church of the day. I love to talk about the different world-views held by artists. I love history, astronomy, physics (basics only please), ecologically sustainable design, the role of the Body of Christ, etc., etc., etc. I’m a philomath, remember?
Maybe some of what I’ve said here has raised your temperature a bit. That is not my intention. All I ask is that you remember, I am discussing, not debating.
Be open. Listen. Enjoy.