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20.02.2017

Arguments are power plays

When somebody is in competition to another, it is not so much whether he is actually better that counts.

It is whether the voices that most people listen to judge his performance as better.

The “critics’ consensus”. The consensus of the voices that most people think are reasonable and informed. Whatever that means, right?

When you trust a source that says “Trump totally owned Hillary, that bitch”, then that is the truth.

When you trust a source that says “Hillary is the rightful winner, Trump only tricked himself into winning”, then that is the truth.

But it’s much more apparent when there is no actual competition rules, like in a presidency.

In a debate.

Take a public debate. Most people afterwards will gravitate towards sources that proclaim that their preferred debater “won” or “totally burned” the other one.

In a debate there is no objective winner. What counts is not so much whether someone has actually won, but whether you can convince people that some particular part of the debate marked a participant’s victory.

And suddenly, after the critic says it, “it becomes obvious”. Well, why wasn’t it obvious before the critic or “expert” said it?

It’s the same way arguments end usually. One party eventually lets it go and says something like “Hey, don’t you realize it? I have already won. Stop arguing, it’s over.”

But it isn’t. That’s part of the power play. The belief that you can win an argument is the only reason why you can actually win it.

An argument is never really about the subject. It’s about who can convince the other person that they have won it. It’s a battle of frames.

Each one keeps presenting himself as “knowledgeable” or “skilled in rhetorics” or “rational” or whatever until the other one accepts that “he is outmanned and has lost”. Until the other one’s will is broken.

There is no rationality to it. It’s a battle until one is broken. The rationality is a pretense. Why? Because underneath, it’s about two people each wanting their own way. None is more valid objectively.

The so-called rationality and “validity” comes in through “accepted” standards. In other words, conditioned patterns that one has submitted to earlier. For example, one may appeal to “social responsibility”, a term that we are conditioned to submit to. So the other debater, to beat the first one, will now have to present the first one with an even STRONGER conditioned pattern, or use the same one against him in a stronger way. For example, one could make an argument that the first debater is even more unsocial. Now, whether that ends up being “believable” is again just a question of “standards” or in other words, conditioning. What we deem “reasonable” and “believable” is conditioning.

Now, what can you bring up against “social responsibility”? Again, it depends on the conditioning. To some, you may use “God”. To others, you may use “justice”. Or “the law”. Or “capitalism”. Or “love”. Or “rationality”. Whatever you can construct to suit your cause.

For example, with women you would more likely appeal to “social responsibility” and “victimhood” and stuff like that, whereas with men you would more likely appeal to “rationality” and “honor” or whatever. Both are just conditioned standards of course.

The point where you have won is the point where the other one bows to their conditioning. That is, shame, guilt, whatever. When one accepts that their position is “unreasonable”.

Realistically, the one who will win is the one who is less susceptible to conditioning. On the top of the food chain, the psychopath. He feels no shame nor guilt. You can accuse him of whatever you want, and he will feel nothing. He will smile and project (and feel!) confidence, thus convincing you (and others) that your argument is weak.

Don’t make a mistake. Arguments are emotional battles. Vicious battles. There is no honour in them. No mercy. No dignity. You either dominate or you submit, because you can’t take the emotional pain. The only way you can avoid this is when either neither submits (two psychopaths?) or you have an argument between two people who have already submitted to a standard of evaluation. In other words, to an authority. Then you can appeal to commonly accepted standards or the known “will of the authority” or solve the dispute by asking the authority.

That is how “peace” works. Peace works by subjugating everyone so dramatically that they will never risk a real conflict again. That is how law works. How government works.

Oh, but of course when it comes to famous debates, like presidential debates, both kinda have to be psychopaths. So neither really submits typically. So it becomes all a matter of interpretation. And that is where the secondary battle begins: The battle to convince a participant’s followers that the participant has lost. That is, the battle of critics, media, essays, etc.

That is why followers of two different participants will fight with each other over who has “really” won. It’s just a secondary battle of dominance and submission that follows exactly the same pattern as the first one. Only that it is slightly more pathetic and humiliating in the first place, in that you aren’t even really fighting your own battle. But it’s still the best that most of us can afford.

It is a vicious world we live in. Kill or die. Not physically. But emotionally. Most people are broken and will stay broken for others are emotionally stronger.

We are all slaves.

And the least broken slaves get the pussy.

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  • Dano

    “It is a vicious world we live in. Kill or die. Not physically. But emotionally. Most people are broken and will stay broken for others are emotionally stronger.” I am a horrible public speaker. Whenever I have a project I need to present, I outdo myself- I go above and beyond in order to be the best in the class. But no matter how much effort I put in, or how outstanding the results are- I panic when standing in front of others. Why? Even though my project is obviously the top of the class- why do I feel so vulnerable? I become unable to present, and eventually self destruct. Maybe it’s because I understood there was no solid truth behind what I was saying. No matter how amazing it was, perhaps someone will be able to find a hole- and crush me from within. And in the end of it all, I get a good grade- but nothing more. The acknowledgment I wished from my peers never blooms. So does that make me emotionally weak? Perhaps. But maybe there is strength in being a flaky person whom is easily swayed. A positive when you are unable to firmly stand for engineered “truths”. People may thing I’m just a follower that is weak with no opinion of their own- but I’ve never once felt below anybody’s control. In fact, aren’t they the ones being controlled? Standing up for a “man-made truth” means submission.

    Funny I say “submission” when infact, I am someone who strictly follows rules, more-so than most people. It’s also Funny because I don’t necessarily believe the rules, more-so than most people. When old rules change, I follow the new ones. It’s as simple as that.

    • Does that make you weak? I don’t know. “Weak” is just a word. What exactly are we trying to say when we say someone is weak?

      It’s kinda true though. Why bother firmly standing behind any idea when any idea is basically just as valid as no one is able to find a hole in it. But on some level … one oneself knows that one oneself would be able to find holes in it, if one cared to. So one concludes that if no one else criticizes it, it’s only because they’re too fucking stupid to see the holes in it .. so their compliments kinda mean little.

      But who knows. I know for myself that I am ruled by fear. If I wasn’t, maybe I’d see the world more clearly and find some “real truths”. But as it is, I have not yet encountered much that I could reliably and undoubtedly call absolute truth.

      Maybe the truth of this matter is as simple as … when you aren’t ruled by fear, you are not so much concerned with delivering perfect results, hence you simply care less, hence it doesn’t matter, hence you don’t mind believing in or defending an idea that is less than perfect, because you can easily switch sides to the “better” idea. And, uh, whatever.

      • Dano

        good point. I often wish I wasn’t ruled by fear- because then I can display my true strengths and potential. But then again, I believe it is fear itself that drives me to try so hard and to think so well. Confidence can be a huge hindrance. In other words, my inability to display confidence causes people to look down on me, and in turn I try to prove them wrong by being the best in order for me to not be looked down on again.
        For example, during my last college semester, my professors and classmates looked down on me due to my low GPA- they thought i was stupid. I hated that and pushed myself to be the top student in all my classes (which I achieved). This semester, I am doing very poorly. Why? Because my professors and classmates think I am “smart”- therefore I have no more motivation to even bother learning. I guess what I am trying to say is that the fear of imperfection can be the driving force to reach something close to perfection. Yet it does not matter because there is no perfection- and thus maybe there are some really smart people out there that refuse to deliver only due to the fact that they cannot reach perfection.

        But even though I am a wishy-washy person when it comes down to almost everything – I think I’ve found one or two absolute truths in my life I will forever stand for.

        • Interesting. I guess there’s a sweet spot where the fear motivates one. For me, it’s crippling and paralyzing.

          Truths to stand for? Sounds tiresome. I mean, right now I’d say I stand for me hating everyone and everything and calling everything bullshit … but I’d not want to make a prison out of it for myself. Who knows what I’ll want to believe in tomorrow.

          • Dano

            The topic in itself is interesting. I, for one, never know when someone is doing well in a debate until someone points it out to me. I always hated that quality about myself. I thought I must be weak for giving in to another persons opinion so easily- and simply put my trust in somebody else’s opinion.

            But the more I think about it, the more I realize how foolish it would be to whole-heartedly support either side.

            On the topic, I had a dream a few days ago. I can’t recall the details, but all I remember was being in the “hands of the enemy”. And at the time, i believe I ditched all my morals and pride to please the leader of the enemies. Why? maybe to survive. When I woke up I was pretty sad to think that I’m not like those movie characters that would put their pride and beliefs first without giving in to the enemies.

            So in conclusion to everything I’ve been trying to say thus far:
            1) Fear of being “imperfect” or “un-true” can restrict your ability to deliver to an audience.
            Negatives: no strong beliefs. Easily swayed by other peoples opinions.
            Positives: Can potentially be a driving force to help you excel and strive towards perfection.
            — people like this may give in to enemies once captured for the sake of survival (reason: they don’t have strong beliefs anyways- so they don’t really care about how they live their lives and under whoms control/orders)

            2) People whom have the confidence to deliver opinions usually are supported by the audience (as you’ve said). Therefore, they develop high regards to their opinions. and since everyone “agrees” then they think “what I am saying must be true”
            Perhaps these are the types of people who will stand up against enemies even in a life-or-death situation. Why? simply because they believe in themselves and highly regard their own beliefs. They will risk their lives for something they believe in- Quite foolish actually

            But I would rather be foolish than aware.

          • I think the point, as I hinted in this article, is that most people don’t go into arguments as much seeking for validation (because they are better able to generate it internally) but rather (although maybe unaware of this fact) to pursue a personal agenda and merel choosing a “standpoint” which will allow them to pursue their own goals.

            For instance … one may philosophically support capitalism, but do so only because it satisfies one’s own desires, for example to abolish regulations which prevent one from expanding one’s business. Or, in a more local typical social context, one may decide to stand behind a certain “value” or “standard” because one is aware that in an environment that lives by that standard, one has a good “head start”. E.g. if you can convince everyone that your own qualities are also the most “important” and “virtuous” qualities, then you will get mates, support, power etc.