I hate being told how to think and feel. It took me thirty-aught years of reading, analysis, experience, open-mindedness and reality to get me to this point. It may not always be right, nor is it necessarily firm and unbending, but I am fairly happy with what my opinions became over the course of time, effort and energy set forth to them. I didn’t invest thirty-aught years in developing them to cave under any old pressure.
Yet, I will firmly say, I do not know everything I need to know, and nor have I fully developed all my opinions. to be honest, I truly believe, learning, and questioning which is a fundamental of learning is a livelong process. therefore, I can never be perfect and therefore neither can my opinions. Nor, do I ever want to, under any circumstance, want to feel that way. But there is no way, in God’s green Earth, I will ever be told that i am wrong in the development of that process.
I try, really hard to know why I feel the way I do and express that to those whom are so indulgent to ask. It is ashamed not enough people ever ask. The thing is, I enjoy the challenge when people want to engage in intelligent and meaningful conversation. Sadly, it does not happen nearly enough. Not with me. Not in society in general.
The most difficult two things that I personally find when discussing with people opinions are the “why factor” and the “end point theory.”
The Why Factor is the necessity to inquire why in order to establish a firm understanding of the basis of an opinion. It incorporates a derivative of the Socratic Method. It means asking a plethora of questions to define and redefine the point so that all parties participating in the conversation come to not necessarily the same opinion but the same understanding of the opinion and how it was formulated. It means rephrasing and repositioning the words to get at the underlying shades of meaning and fully comprehend the subtleties of the language use. It means tweaking the form of the questions and conversation to bring a deeper, fuller meaning to get at the underlying thoughts and emotions.
One has to be careful in how they employ this though. Too many questions can easily revert simple inquisitiveness into a feeling of resentment. If the opinions feel too challenged in the line of questioning it can come across as judgmental and even accusatory. So, rather than coming to a consensus it actually can drive the two people further apart and undermine the ground for understanding. It can actually cause more harm than good in a relationship of any kind to over-question. It creates a nature of defensive tactics rather than the pure form of playful inquisition.
Although striving for a deeper understanding can be a good thing, when it comes at the expense of accepting someone else’s opinion for what it is because the definition of the opinion becomes too analytical, that’s as big of a potential problem as never attempting to understanding the root of the opinion in the first place. Questioning is important, but not at the expense of the answer. And, there in-lies a delicate balance and why being deterministically inquisitive can become such a disappointment.
The End Point is just as the name implies, it is the effective termination of the conversation in which both parties feel as if they are leaving on evenly advantaged ground.
Finding this balance should normally come when two people reach that level of acceptance of one another’s opinions that they either have enough common ideas to agree or come to a point of respect of the other’s opinion where they agree to disagree. This kind of ending comes from deep introspective understanding of how the conversation is progressing and being able to then read both your own emotions as well as the aural, physical and psychological cues of the other person / people involved.
Under-stay the conversation and too much is left on the table to allow everyone to leave feeling complete and comfortable about how it went. Over-stay the conversation and it takes upon an acidic nature, deteriorating any of the positives and accomplishments of the conversation until all that’s left is disappointment and resentment. Finding this balance between saying too little and too much is difficult to say the least. Missing the correct end point can turn even the most productive conversation into a garbage disposal of thoughts.
Everything in the End Point Theory is reflective of the Why Factor in so much as it means being able to truly gauge the way the conversation is progressing and understand how all those are participating are reacting to it. Getting it wrong can be costly and cause tremendous disappointment, but getting it right is almost a lost art sometimes.
So all in all, the Why Factor and End Point Theory combine to create a very delicate situation for those who wish to engage in intellectual or potentially highly personal conversations. This is why all those town halls began to fall apart, because the premise of the Why Factor as well as the End Point Theory began to break down. This is why so many conversations collapse under the weight of themselves, and why, even for myself, sometimes I don’t know when (or why) to shut up. Hey, I can admit I don’t get it right every time. I’d be curious to know how many really can…