Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Socratic Method

Questions are a tricky business. According to Merriam Webster: an act or instance of asking. My English professor today, in a discussion of how to enter an academic conversation, encouraged us to not answer a question without first asking one. It took me about two seconds to realize this is how I should be living my entire life, not just my academic conversation entering (like that'll ever happen). We discussed the concept of argumentation as conversation as opposed to the popular notion of argumentation as battle. I've lost one of my closest friends because she thought all arguments were a battle to be won by the best tactics and weaponry, and for far to long I played the game. Now that I'm "out in the world," the connections I make with people are often far more ephemeral and somehow far more dear to me and I'm far more interested in what those people can say to me than what I could possibly communicate to them. My closest friend right now I spend a ridiculous amount of time just silently listening to, since I know everything he says is precious to me. Challenge: always ask a question before you answer one. Try to understand the perspective of the inquirer and what they're really getting at. Be quiet. Receive. 

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