How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Laurens
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by Laurens » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:46 am

I tend to find that you can turn a debate from a 'slagging match' to a 'discussion' by doing the following:

Actually being interested in their viewpoint even if from your perspective it is wrong. This usually breaks down people's barriers. Especially if their viewpoint is usually subject to derision. Instead of responding with things like 'that's absurd' or 'that's wrong' just say 'why do you think that?' or 'that's interesting can you tell me a bit more about such and such?'

Not being too invested in your perspective coming across as right. If you are right then nothing should be a threat to your view, even an ignorant person hammering you on the forehead with their argument. You don't have to change everyone's mind---their path is theirs alone, and you aren't their guru. You don't have to concede any arguments, but you can let them feel like they have won if that is what they need from the situation. Your right view is your problem, their wrong view is theirs.

Find common ground. Most of us focus on differences during discussions because our ego likes to differentiate itself and make it's presence known. I don't know the nature of the discussions you are involved in, but say for example you are talking to a fundamentalist Christian. You could just talk about some of the beautiful things in the Bible. I love the verse in I Corinthians that says something along the lines of "I could have the faith that would move mountains, but if I have not love I am nothing". There is always common ground somewhere, find it and leave the discussion at that point regardless of whether you 'won' then you will walk away feeling closer rather than separate.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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pitakele
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by pitakele » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:00 am

Laurens wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:46 am
I tend to find that you can turn a debate from a 'slagging match' to a 'discussion' by doing the following:

Actually being interested in their viewpoint even if from your perspective it is wrong.

Not being too invested in your perspective coming across as right.

Find common ground.
A very thoughtful post - thank you!
now here = nowhere

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Aloka
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by Aloka » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:53 am

Laurens wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:46 am
I tend to find that you can turn a debate from a 'slagging match' to a 'discussion' by doing the following:

Actually being interested in their viewpoint even if from your perspective it is wrong. This usually breaks down people's barriers. Especially if their viewpoint is usually subject to derision. Instead of responding with things like 'that's absurd' or 'that's wrong' just say 'why do you think that?' or 'that's interesting can you tell me a bit more about such and such?'

Not being too invested in your perspective coming across as right. If you are right then nothing should be a threat to your view, even an ignorant person hammering you on the forehead with their argument. You don't have to change everyone's mind---their path is theirs alone, and you aren't their guru. You don't have to concede any arguments, but you can let them feel like they have won if that is what they need from the situation. Your right view is your problem, their wrong view is theirs.

Find common ground. Most of us focus on differences during discussions because our ego likes to differentiate itself and make it's presence known. I don't know the nature of the discussions you are involved in, but say for example you are talking to a fundamentalist Christian. You could just talk about some of the beautiful things in the Bible. I love the verse in I Corinthians that says something along the lines of "I could have the faith that would move mountains, but if I have not love I am nothing". There is always common ground somewhere, find it and leave the discussion at that point regardless of whether you 'won' then you will walk away feeling closer rather than separate.

:goodpost: Image


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Cittasanto
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by Cittasanto » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:53 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:07 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:54 am
Greetings,

I'll take that at face value, but let's just say that there's a lot of whinging and moaning from certain people, who aren't doing their cause any favours by exhibiting many of the same behaviours they complain about in others.

Is it so hard just to be decent and civilized? Is it really so complicated?

:shrug:

OK...

:focus:

Metta,
Paul. :)
Being civilized is the best damage control strategy because then instead of 3 pages of arguing there is only 1 page.

However i am exploring long term solutions to eliminate such non-sensical behavior entirely.

I figured that if a person does the same kind of behavior but also has the truth on his side then he cannot lose.

:guns:
I can not read anymore of this thread as it is just silly.
A long term solution to eliminate such non-sensical behaviour entirely? try not thinking of people who disagree with you as ignorant brutes!
I see allot of ignorance and brutish attitudes comming from yourself here, be the change you want to see instead of acting like what you are supposedly complaining about.

Right view is the forerunner of the path for a reason.

In Truth
Cittasanto
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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_anicca_
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by _anicca_ » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:21 pm

The first step is to notice when you're labeling them as ignorant brutes.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Mkoll
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by Mkoll » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:54 am

one_awakening wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:58 pm
A lot of heated discussions start off discussing a topic but reach a point where it's no longer about the topic, but more about winning the argument. I have noticed that I have done this in the past as well.

It occurred to me one day, "Why is it so important to prove to the other person, that I am right and they are wrong?" The answer is, it's not important. The "I am right" self emerges and when someone threatens that self, then we must defend it otherwise that self ceases to be. Even if it means putting forward totally illogical arguments. I must not lose.

I now respond with noble silence. This way, the "I am right" self is replaced with the "I don't need to prove anything to anyone" self. This is a far more peaceful state.
I understand where you're coming from and feel similarly, though it took me far more posts to figure it out! But better late than never.

The turning point for me was when I just got tired of whatever brief pleasurable feeling I got from "winning" arguments or "proving" 'I was right. Everyone look at me!' The drawbacks of these actions had been apparent for awhile, but the penny drops slowly if you will. Eventually one sees the pain of certain deeds outweighs the pleasure of them and then one can begin to let go of them.

Mind you, old habits still occasionally arise, though less and less as time goes on. And it surely is more peaceful as relationships with others in general have taken a turn for better.

I'll leave with the simile of the water-snake from MN 22 that was very helpful to me with regard to this subject.
"Monks, there is the case where some worthless men study the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions [the earliest classifications of the Buddha's teachings]. Having studied the Dhamma, they don't ascertain the meaning (or: the purpose) of those Dhammas with their discernment. Not having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they don't come to an agreement through pondering. They study the Dhamma both for attacking others and for defending themselves in debate. They don't reach the goal for which [people] study the Dhamma. Their wrong grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term harm & suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the Dhammas.

"Suppose there were a man needing a water-snake, seeking a water-snake, wandering in search of a water-snake. He would see a large water-snake and grasp it by the coils or by the tail. The water-snake, turning around, would bite him on the hand, on the arm, or on one of his limbs, and from that cause he would suffer death or death-like suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the water-snake. In the same way, there is the case where some worthless men study the Dhamma... Having studied the Dhamma, they don't ascertain the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment. Not having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they don't come to an agreement through pondering. They study the Dhamma both for attacking others and for defending themselves in debate. They don't reach the goal for which [people] study the Dhamma. Their wrong grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term harm & suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the Dhammas.

"But then there is the case where some clansmen study the Dhamma... Having studied the Dhamma, they ascertain the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment. Having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they come to an agreement through pondering. They don't study the Dhamma either for attacking others or for defending themselves in debate. They reach the goal for which people study the Dhamma. Their right grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term welfare & happiness. Why is that? Because of the right-graspedness of the Dhammas.

"Suppose there were a man needing a water-snake, seeking a water-snake, wandering in search of a water-snake. He would see a large water-snake and pin it down firmly with a cleft stick. Having pinned it down firmly with a forked stick, he would grasp it firmly by the neck. Then no matter how much the water-snake might wrap its coils around his hand, his arm, or any of his limbs, he would not from that cause suffer death or death-like suffering. Why is that? Because of the right-graspedness of the water-snake. In the same way, there is the case where some clansmen study the Dhamma... Having studied the Dhamma, they ascertain the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment. Having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they come to an agreement through pondering. They don't study the Dhamma either for attacking others or for defending themselves in debate. They reach the goal for which people study the Dhamma. Their right grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term welfare & happiness. Why is that? Because of the right-graspedness of the Dhammas.

"Therefore, monks, when you understand the meaning of any statement of mine, that is how you should remember it. But when you don't understand the meaning of any statement of mine, then right there you should cross-question me or the experienced monks.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

chownah
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by chownah » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:39 am

_anicca_ wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:21 pm
The first step is to notice when you're labeling them as ignorant brutes.
INdeed it is....because at the moment you label is the moment when the passions which prompt that labeling are present and thus directly observable.

Thanks for reminding us of the first step.
chownah

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tellyontellyon
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:55 am

Don't think of them as ignorant brutes, and don't worry about winning arguments or anything else.
Practice kindness and patience, check any conceit in oneself.
Didn't the Buddha describe this path as the path of non-contention.
“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:09 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:34 pm
Now these "slow" people could never "win" fairly so they tend to cheat and use lowly tactics. As i see it if the weaker opponent cheats it is still possible to win unless the cheating is of such nature that it cannot be overcome.

If the cheating cannot be overcome should the superior party also cheat or should they forfeit the match if it pertains to a Dhamma discussion on the forum?
There is a way to reflect on this as a Buddhist. Especially if you have been exposed to a school of scholarship or philosophy -- East or West. But warning: this method of reflection can be humbling.

I suggest that the question about how to respond to such "brutes" will look different after following this path of reflection.
------------------------------------

Even when I'm in agreement that this "slow" person a) has a poor case to be made and b) tends to resort to avoiding the hard questions and resorting to "low tactics" -- it still seems to me that just saying so is, in turn, also a weak argument .
Just saying that someone else is "slow" and "can never win" doesn't make it so.

In short: If you have a strong case to be made then make it. But IMO just saying someone else "can never win fairly" and uses "low tactics" is itself a bit of a "low tactic".

It's one thing to make such judgement. It's quite another to reflect on and then explain in principled terms the basis for such judgments.

Someone might respond: If you heard the discussion it should be obvious. But that just pushes the reflection and principled evaluation off into the future and/or on others.

Reflective questions which have humbled me in the past include:
  • OK, assuming for the moment that the other person is as you describe them.
  • How do we know that?
  • In what way did they "cheat"?
  • What principle did they "cheat" against?
  • Could I explain my reasoning to person from a different culture. (Sometimes put as "could I explain that to an anthropologist from Mars")
  • Just claiming that someone else could "never win fairly" assumes the truth about what I said. Sometimes called assuming the conclusion.
Begging the question is a logical fallacy that occurs when an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion, instead of supporting it.
In modern vernacular usage, "begging the question" is frequently used to mean "raising the question" or "dodging the question".
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

gingercatni
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Re: How to deal with ignorant brutes in a discussion

Post by gingercatni » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:17 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:34 pm
We might occasionally encounter these vile, ignorant brutes and their views.

Now these "slow" people could never "win" fairly so they tend to cheat and use lowly tactics. As i see it if the weaker opponent cheats it is still possible to win unless the cheating is of such nature that it cannot be overcome.

If the cheating cannot be overcome should the superior party also cheat or should they forfeit the match if it pertains to a Dhamma discussion on the forum?
read the Majjhima Sila it deals with a person critical and mocking of the Buddha it should give you some advice :namaste:

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