Today we talk about what to do in circular discussions.

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Main topic of the Show: Opt Out of Nonsensical Discussions

Nonsense. It is all nonsense all the time. 

The most obvious nonsense is around covid.

We look at the mandate proclamation that has no teeth and freak out. 

We hear that non vaxed are the ones spreading the disease. Then we hear the vaccine does not stop the spread of the disease and that is why you need to be vaxed. I literally heard someone say in the same diatribe that everything with covid is the fault of the unvaxed and then go on to explain that vaccines are not intended to stop the spread, but rather to protect the person who gets the disease from getting a harder case. But then say that vaccinated are not contributing to the pressure being put on the virus to make it mutate.

Wait what? The words coming out of your mouth do not make any sense.

If nothing else has become clear it is this: we have not found a cure for the common cold. There is a reason we haven’t. 

But I do not want today to be about the illness. We talk waaaay too much about this.

Today, I want to explore the increase in nonsensical discussions that are polluting reasoned discourse in our society. You see, as we have become more prosperous, it has become acceptable to spew bullshit. Black is white, up is down and so forth.

We have become so comfortable that rocking the boat is scary. What if someone pushes back? What if I look stupid? Maybe they know more than I do.

No.

Stop.

Just stop.

Your bullshit meter is working just fine. The things people tell you that make no sense and seem to illustrate the opposite of the original assertion are, in fact, circular logic. You are being gaslighted. 

Ever hear the theory that people need to hear something 8 times to accept it as fact? This is a, oft cited marketing foundation. It is why marketing gets a bad name. The number 8 can be changed to 15, or 6, but the foundational idea is if you are exposed to a lie long enough, you begin to accept it.

And we have been using this to great advantage. Maxwell house is better than folgers. Colombian beans are the best in the world. Masks work, or they don’t work (depending on what you are exposed to). States with low vac rates are having larger outbreaks than, say, Oregon. Home ownership is the best way to handle your housing because renting is just throwing your money away. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a success. Also it was Trump’s fault. But it is a success. But anyone who got hurt is Trump’s fault. 

Fake mandates!

<No longer hearing about Afghanistan are we?>

We are in a constantly rolling set of angenda -based crisis and the fearmomenter has been turned up again, as it always is, when they have something to hide. The think to ask yourself as you become terrified of losing your job, of angry hoardes attacking peaceful people in reaction to mandates, is this: What are they hiding with their manipulative spin?

Who are they dividing? 

How can I opt out?

The sad thing about this cycle is that it has set into motion the habit to buy into taglines and spin so heavily that people use it in discussions with one another. And when you point out the illogic, personal attacks follow because, anymore, the goal of discourse is to win, not to learn.

And THAT brings us to the point. What should we, as critical thinkers do when we come into nonsensical discussions with circular logic? Do we stay and fight? Do we leave with a “whatever dude?” Or do we do something else.

In the big picture, a nonsensical discussion is not really worth my time and if I have it,  especially on the internet, all I do is feed the nonsense that I am trying to counter. 

Dont believe me?

Go find one and look at the back and forth. People get increasingly divided and angry. They end having not changed. The “lgoical” arguer often comes across looking like a dick. Mean people are not appreciated. Therefore the wrong narrative often “wins” in the eyes of an outsider.

So what can we do?

  • Turn off the news
  • Acknowledge your own circular or faith-based biases
  • In a discussion establish a big picture goal: Are we talking to “win” or to learn? What are we discussing? (Ivermective example) Are both sides willig to be wrong? <The emotional release thing> Who is your target for discussion?
  • Find ways to find good information (read studies, confirm things with sources)
  • Keep the long term, big picture in mind

It can be hard when faced with a circular argument to not engage to correct the problem. We see it all the time on a personal level when our friends get into an “i can’t” mindset and will not see the opportunities for fear of the things they see as barriers. You know who I mean right? That friend who is stuck at a dead end job but can’t find another one because they have kids and need to pay the bills.

Wait what? 

Stop.

You and I just want to slap them when they go there because having bills is the environment they are in, not a hurdle. That means it is either best to safe like mad so that you can transition to a lower paying income opportunity, reduce expenses, or look for a job like it is your only hobby that will be a better fit and pay what you need for expenses.

But telling someone that when they are in the “I can’t” mindset never works. They just see you as an opposing force and try to WIN the argument. This then solidifies the barrier in their mind.

SO in this case, if the goal is to help them past that barrier, a better way is to say something like “Well I believe you can make it past that barrier if you put your mind to it. Let me know if you ever want to brainstorm ideas.” 

And then shut up about it.

They may do another cycle of I can’t but stop engaging.

This one is no different than how we need to talk to folks drinking the kool aid of corporate media messaging. My goal is not to win the argument but to plant the seed. People need to see the spin for themselves to start freeing their mind up for critical thinking and going head to head in your face with them rarely works. Better is to ask a question that may take them a few days to answer. And hope they are open enough to get there.

And if they are not, you will know because they will inevitably come back and call you a poopy head who does not care about people.

So what does this mean for us in today’s accelerating propogadized world? Be the gardener, plant the seeds of critical thinking, culture that garden both in yourself and those around you. And know that while you cannot change everything at once, seeds grow, plants spread, and the more we can push back on the bullshit, the less of it we will have to shovel when this all comes to a head.

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