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Always Arguing

March 26, 2015

My ability to engage in an enthusiastic debate has never depended upon the presence of another person. My internal debates can last for hours. Forget that. My internal debates can last for years.

I argue every angle I can conceive of and still strive to conjure up a new perspective to bring to the table. The table of one? I sound like I have schizophrenic ambitions. Ummm… Maybe we can just assume Holy Spirit is usually at the table, as well, and hope that I am actively listening and letting Him lead me into the truth.

I would guess that no less than 95% of my thought comes in the form of debate. I rarely have an idea that I don’t immediately challenge or contradict*.

I will always cherish the people with whom I can argue. If you love a good debate and we’ve ever had a real discussion, chances are… I adore you. And the privilege of talking to you is like food for my soul.

The funny thing about this is that I am often perceived as having strong, immovable opinions. I do argue and believe passionately. My opinions, after all, are often the (still-ripening) fruit of a perpetual debate and they can come across more definitively than they are felt. But those opinions are works in progress. I want them to be fluid… continually evolving and moving closer to the truth.

It always hurts when someone tells me that they think my opinion is immovable, that there is no point in trying to argue with me. (As I already suggested… I might love you forever if you argue with me.) It hurts because I am always seeking to broaden my perspective… to learn… to grow.

If you feel like I usually believe you are wrong… well, maybe I do. But I usually think I’m wrong, too. And by “wrong”, I simply mean that neither of us has likely grasped absolute truth. It doesn’t mean that I think less of you (or me). I like to think of it as… being realistic.

I guess I think of truth like mathematical limits. The function draws closer and closer to a specific value (the “limit”… the truth), but it never actually reaches that value. I’m also a mathematician (maybe I love it for its absolutes and its ability to bring order where absolutes cannot exist)… and I know the word “math” can elicit a stronger emotional response than most other “four-letter words”… so I won’t elaborate. But I like the idea.

Well, that wasn’t what I set out to write about at all. But my opening sentence veered off into a tangent so difficult to suppress that I eventually decided to stay with it.

Maybe I will write, later, about the internal debate that drove me out of my bed and onto my computer. But the debate was about whether or not to write, so… no promises. 😉

 

* Illustrating the assertion that I challenge most of my ideas… I am definitely still questioning the idea that 95% of my thoughts are arguments with myself. I know you aren’t expecting the kind of mathematical precision that I was hoping for with that estimate, but that doesn’t make precision any less desirable. And this is why I am terrible at estimating… because I want estimates to be precise… and that kind of contradicts their nature (and purpose, for that matter).

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