Intellectual Discussion and Dialectic.
Finding Agreement, Quality and Beauty in the World.
When two people discuss a concept intellectually – naturally there will be disagreement. What then?
In the two and a half thousand years since Socrates and the Ancient Greeks what two people aim for has been the truth. Disagreement has immediately implied that what one person thinks is false and therefore wrong, while what the other person thinks is true and therefore right. The way to determine this right and wrong has been to logically argue about what is true and what is false. Each participant in this dialectical discussion – using the rules of logic – determines the truth by watching for things like contradiction and consistency from their interlocutor. If someone is inconsistent, or shows contradiction, then what they are saying is false and thus the person demonstrating the contradiction is right. Quality, Values and Morals in these discussions are unimportant. Truth and logical consistency is the focus, not Quality or Values or Morals.
But of course – this isn’t how things are. Quality, Values and Morals do exist and *are *very important. Values actually create our ideas and opinions. And so if we are to ever reach agreement, we will not find it simply with the aid of logical consistency (although it helps). If we only keep our eyes on logical consistency we will be forever stuck in muddy water at the bottom of a waterfall – not in the clean water at the top. Unless we explain, beautifully, the values, the morals which form the quality of our opinions we won’t get anywhere but be stuck with a bunch of meaningless, valueless, truths.
This is true not just of one or two discussion – but of all discussions – everywhere. Why do people value the things that they do? Why do some people call one thing moral, while another group call something else moral? Of course, in these discussions there will be disagreement. But unless there is an openness to this disagreement, an openness to see something better, an openness to even try the values of another, an openness to be honest with yourself about your own values – then things will stay the same and not get any better.