Socrates: Internet Hypno-Surgeon

Opinion and argument populate the interwebs like fish populate the sea. Unfortunately, unlike the oceans the stronger argument doesn’t always eat the weaker one. More often, the argument that splashes around the most wins.

You may be a good person with a good heart and are firmly positioned on the side of a debate that you feel is just, but if your argument isn’t sound enough or your mettle isn’t strong enough, a more prepared opponent may gnash and bite your face off. As frustrating as this can be, it’s your own fault. You lost because you weren’t ready to play their game.

In a straight up fact war, a shootout where bits of information and propaganda are the bullets, the quicker draw wins. That’s the game these über aggressive internet types play. Now you’ve got three choices if you find someone opposite you in a dusty, tumbleweed laden comment section on (fill in the blank) website. You can try your luck, draw your facts, and start shooting. You can choose not to engage, leaving the stranger in the tobacco stained shirt and dirty black hat to wreak havoc. Your final option is more simple than you think. Change the game.

Why bother playing a game outlined by someone else if you aren’t forced to do so? Why get in an opinion war when you could instead wield the most powerful argument tools in existence? Facts are blunt instruments. Opinions are sticky swamps. Pick up the scalpels that are question and logic and change that shootout into brain surgery. You’re opponent becomes your patient and they’re going to operate on themselves. Continue reading

Hmmm#7: Being Wrong and The Aftermath

Sometimes we can be wrong.

KAAAASCHPEEEWWWWWW!!!!!! *splatter…splatter,splatter… plop,plop,plop,plop,plop* (wipes brain from shirt and eyes and hair and, well, you get the idea.)

Sometimes we just aren’t right. Sometimes our position isn’t correct. Sometimes our stance is indefensible. True things don’t need anyone to argue for them. They are true in and of themselves and sometimes we might not believe or understand those true things. It’s okay. It’s normal. It happens.

It also never feels good to be wrong. When we find ourselves in this uncomfortable position we have some choices to make. The questions for this week revolve around those choices.


If you discover that your argument, stance, belief, etc, has been shown to be wrong should you:

a) Continue to argue a lost cause in order to maintain some sense of … I don’t know something. Often getting louder and angrier.

b) Concede graciously. Then  work to understand the correct idea and change your way of thinking.

c) Pretend that your losing side is somehow related to the winning side and so therefore has not completely lost.

d) Concede to the winning side, only to retain your original beliefs and look for easier people to debate so you win next time.

e) Explain that you understand that your opponent is right or at least partially right but also explain how that doesn’t necessarily mean you are wrong.


I could go on and on with other options but I don’t feel I need to. Here is the deal. This week I’ve thrown out a bit of a trick question. There’s really only one right answer. Usually I strive to keep these questions open and broad so that you can find your own answers that are applicable specifically to you. With this question, the deeper thought comes from analyzing your answer. If you answered B, congratulations you’re not a self-serving, truth-denying, jerk. If you answered with any of the other letters, then I have some follow-up questions for you.

Why did you answer the way you did?

Can you really find a convincing way to justify that answer?

If so let me know.


*Hint- One other lEtter can be acceptable in some situations.