Monday, December 24, 2007

The World is Still Flat

"Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”
--- Robert Heinlein, science fiction writer

“You should never try and teach a pig to read for two reasons. First, it's impossible; and secondly, it annoys the hell out of the pig!”
--- Will Rogers, humorist

I must have been blessed to awaken feelings in people that makes them want to argue with me. Or else, I'm choosing to hang around with people who, for some reason, rub on me the wrong way or vice-versa.

Just yesterday, I had a long discussion with one of my buddies on relaxing the vow of celibacy so that Catholic priests can marry and raise families. While I certainly agreed with his contention that it should be allowed (which I'm sure would spark some debate from those who care enough to read this blog and chime in an opinion), we never could agree as to the why it should be allowed. Like anyone who has some exposure to the Socratic method, I wanted to pin him down on how and why he thought his original statement was valid. For some reason, I found the way he flung about his statement as misinformed and irresponsible. Anyone can express an opinion, but for me to agree to it, I have to find out why.

(Sue me --- I was hung over, semi-depressed, and perhaps in need of a hug.)

After we broke off (both of us had to go back to work), it just occurred to me that we have been debating a lot lately. I don't know if it's me, or the things we talk about, or the way we go about our lives in general. Personally, I'd try to avoid expressing an opinion that is not backed up by something solid --- in matters of politics, of the heart, or of science, evidence does help --- but since I'm a bit offbeat myself, being a contrarian is something that is almost impossible to avoid.

Another time I got into an e-mail dispute with someone I hardly knew over my opinion over their choir's performance and repertoire. Looking back, I believe I was at fault over how I expressed myself, but then again, it wouldn't have gone that way if the other person wasn't as stubborn as I was. Eventually I had to concede and granted him whatever moral victory he could get, not because I agreed with his viewpoint but because at some point, trifles such as our discussion could be, and should be, avoided.

Still, another .... but wait, I think what I would add would reach the same conclusion --- it doesn't pay to argue when a) the issue to be decided affects no one in the end; b) it is outside my area of expertise; c) it is only a matter of conjecture.

But I just love arguing. I can't stop. So these quotes are for me --- no, people whom I argue with aren't pigs (though some of them seem that way, sometimes), but arguing the (somewhat useless) point solves nothing.

So if anyone wants to pick at something with me, let me forestall you ---yup, I agree with you the world is still flat.

No comments: