Thursday, 14 July 2011

Situation, Perception and Reaction

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Before you react to a situation, ensure you perceived it rightly"

A very interesting observation that I had is the way in which people react to a situation. Let us assume we come across a situation or topic of discussion where one of, say, two stances can be taken. Now, say this topic of discussion is a pretty widely discussed topic where people normally take one of two sides. When a new person now makes a point that doesn't seem to align with your thought, it is quickly termed as one that is against your view and a defence quickly gets established. These arguments are very interesting, in the sense that debates that follow either digress or dilute. And quite often, extrapolation and judgements are made based on limited knowledge that is possessed.

There are quite a few examples for this that I have come across personally. A simple example would be this post where I asked if homosexuality was indeed natural. A quick look at the topic will take you to a position where you will sit on a stool, looking at two options - Ok with homos or not ok with homos. The topic will make you think that the post is anti homo, and this culminated in some people saying that being or not being homo is purely a personal choice. Which was funny, considering I have myself written in the post that it is a personal choice. This is the result of improper and biased approaches to topics.

A similar response can be seen for this post where I said that the Indian government is not acting - Acting can be anything, the argument being that a tough stance needs to be taken. The result of this, was arguments were made about neighbouring countries being nuclear. Though examples of attacks were mentioned in the post, no suggestion of attack was made - again, this is an extrapolated inference. These inferences are normally made by people who think in digital and argumentative ways.

A third example can be given in this post where I discussed about how newspapers and media should be unbiased while providing news. If you read the comments in the post, you will see people how people get it grossly wrong, and have deviated significantly from the main point in some cases, while in others just don't have the ability to accept the other side. Just because one side has more supporters, the whole momentum swings towards it. Which is incorrect.

Another important point is tones of argument. Which was previously discussed in this post where emotions creep into arguments, ending up in attacks on persons, name calling and what not. A perfect argument is one that discusses pros and cons and comes to a logical conclusion, much like the principles of Six Thinking Hats.

To summarise, it is easy to wag tongues - But before that, ensure you got the premise of the argument rightly. For you don't want to be barking up the wrong tree. While an argument might, at the outset, seem like it is pointing towards something, it necessarily is not - For language can be used to precisely put information across. As in the case of the homosexuality post, I didn't say it was right nor wrong, but I asked if it was natural - and people got misled...

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