In The Benefit of Dissenting Opinion Mike Myatt reminds us of the importance of vigorous debate. I think the reticence of people to offer a dissenting opinion, or hear one for that matter, points to a more fundamental issue getting in the way of progress.
We seem to have lost the ability to have passionate discourse about anything.
Disagreeing does not equal disrespect, yet we seem to have developed a culture that doesn’t know the difference.
When people disagree they form camps around their dissenting opinions driving a wedge that shuts down the wheels of progress. All too often, rather than disagreeing in the open, we have conversations behind closed doors plotting how “we” will win so “they” will lose.
We justify our actions in the name of political correctness, and judge these same actions in others as being “political”. The resulting public conversations end up being more calculating than constructive, and more manipulative rather than honest.
The ultimate result: we all lose even when we are committed to the same thing.
In a debate there is inherently a winner and a loser. You or your idea gets “voted” in or out, at least for the moment. What seems to be missing is the part where we actually engage for the purpose of learning and understanding so we can think better together and see whole new possibilities for how we can move forward.
Progress requires more than debate. It requires passionate discourse; where we take a stand for our thoughts and opinions yet at the same time are willing to be influenced by the thoughts and opinions of others.
What do you think? How can we encourage the kinds of conversations that can truly move us forward?