Enlightened Conflict

in the battlefield of ideas (society version)

October 10th, 2017

 thunder lightning ideas storm dark business

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 “The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas — the appropriate response is a better idea.

 

We are here because we have a better idea.”

 

—–

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria

 

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“It’s no longer the case that technologies of communication merely accelerate the public discourse, they now ensure that every possible public discourse happens simultaneously. It’s not one damned thing after another. It’s every damned thing all the time.

And so in place of a deliberative democracy, in which we as a people could acknowledge, and even tolerate, our differences while working through complex tensions at a pace consistent with social cohesion, we get a no-holds-barred battle royale in which all things are always at stake — in which we’re fighting every culture battle, past, present, and future, right the hell now.”

 

—–

Daniel Foster

 

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Ok.

 

Hugh's Missing the Point

 

I tend to believe everyone knows that we are in a world in which ideas are getting the shit kicked out of them.  For the majority of people ideas float on the superficial surface of our awareness waiting for us to pick one out when it catches our eye.

What that means is rarely do we do any deeper dive to see what else may lie under the surface.

 

This is happening for a variety of reasons … but the one that bothers me the most is the overall lack of interest in ‘deliberative discussion.’

 

It seems like in the battlefield of ideas it is a kill or be killed world in which we instantaneously shoot one death ray, attempt to deflect the one which was launched at us, and assumes, in this assault, only one walks away alive.

 

Ideas do not fare well in battles like this.

 

The battles in which ideas thrive are the grind it out battles. The ones in which there is an ebb & flow with strategy and strategic maneuvering and there are … well … strategic compromises made in order to win or achieve the objective.

 

As I have said before … to truly win on the battlefield of ideas you actually need ideas communicate media training shrinkingto suffocate bad ideas, suffocate objections and suffocate ignorance not by shouting <which just adds oxygen to a room and an idea> but rather by squeezing the air out of the idea.

 

But in order to do that you need to engage in deliberative discussion and … well … not be a coward.

Battles are for neither the lazy nor the cowardly.

 

 

Deliberative discussion means you just cannot randomly pick up an idea off the superficial surface and walk away.

 

You need to engage … well … deliberately. You need to step onto the battlefield of ideas <either as an engaged spectator or a deliberate contestant>.

 

And maybe this is where I get most grumpy with ‘we the people.’ While we may have a shitload of good excuses it almost seems like the majority of people deliberately resist the invasion of ideas.  This almost takes as much effort & energy as actually deliberately participating in the invasion of ideas.

 

This grumpiness on my part made me revisit something I wrote back in 2016:

 

The conflict of ideas does not have to reside in any open debate. You don’t even need another person. Ideas invade in any number of ways. They plant themselves in boxes you have forgotten you even had. They grow to a point where you cannot ignore them anymore and begin to battle existing ideas you have. It becomes … well … a war between learning and unlearning … new and old … what you knew and what you know.

 

I imagine my point is that we are on the battlefield of ideas whether we choose to deliberately be there or not.

 

In general, I this means we are failing society if we do not deliberately participate in some way.

 

In general, this means we are failing society <and ourselves> if we deliberately  curb the ‘art of the idea battle’ by deliberately deciding to  curb the art of critique & criticism <which is at the core of the deliberate discussion>.

 

This is almost societal malpractice on our part because criticism has a role in an effective battlefield of ideas in that it tends to hone the point of attack and … well … sharp edges break through ignorance & well-formed opinions.

 

Some would call this “the ability to unlearn.”

 

But ,maybe more importantly, by avoiding this battlefield of ideas we have ceded the ground to not only the cowards but also the assholes. The ones who do not seek to battle over real ideas but rather simply to win an opinion <note: opinions CAN be ideas but real ideas are rarely just opinions>.

 

Look.

 

business i have come to do battle legacy defineI have nothing against my idea winning <in fact … I like it a lot> but I imagine my point is that the bar for acceptable good behavior to win has dropped significantly.

 

Studies show it.

 

Shit.

 

Just watch the people around you or watch some tv and you will actually see it.

 

And this lack of acceptable behavior affects how we battle. And, well, that matters because a battle poorly fought means ideas lose or suffer and opinions <and assholes> increase their odds of winning.

 

Anyway.

 

I think we all know that Life isn’t just solely about winning and losing … and this is even more relevant on the battlefield of ideas.

 

I think we all know that some basic good behavior isn’t something that needs to be dictated but rather it is simply something good for common humanity within a population with a desire to have better things and do better things than we are doing today … and this includes better ideas.

 

I think we all know that behaving well, at least relatively speaking the majority of the time, has a reward that may not always show up in pride, power & pay but rather almost always in dignity, honor & … well … certainty … and this is important in the actual battle of ideas.

 

I would argue that the three things I just outlined matter a shitload because if we do this then we will … uhm … treat ideas more fairly and less divisively … even as we battle over them.

If we do these things,it tends to lead people to an overall belief, and understanding,  that the idea is fairer for the greater good & society, that the institutions <and the people battling the ideas in the institutions> will treat them more fairly and the world, in general, will end up treating them more fairly <because the ideas are fairer and better understood>.

 

Ah.debate feel facts stories battle of ideas

 

Better ideas better understood –that is the outcome of not only behaving better on the battlefield but permitting a real battlefield of ideas.

 

I do believe we are behaving more badly.

Suffice it to say that if everyone took one step back and viewed the battlefield of ideas and the behavior on the battlefield and viewed the wide spectrum of current behavior from good to heinous, well, it just doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

 

Not only are there not a shitload of pretty ideas out there being battled over but how we are battling ain’t so pretty either.

 

Frankly, we are acting more like assholes every day.

 

Even the people who are trying to stand up against the assholes.

 

And in doing so while societal discourse suffers the largest loser in all of this assholishness are the ideas.

 

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“Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”

 

———-

Barak Obama

 

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Lastly.

 

With all of this assholishness behavior floating around and ideas suffer … you have to hunker down and understand it’s not personal … it’s about ideas.

 

I know. I know.

Conceptually this is a tasty high road we like to offer everyone who sits at the idea table.

Realistically … well … this one is difficult to swallow.

 

On the battlefield of ideas while the ideas can often do some mighty hand to hand combat far too often the messenger gets personally attacked.

 

But.

 

Here’s the deal.

 

I could care less if I turned on the TV and saw Bruce McTague sucks on every channel I went to. Sure. It would sting but, well, at least in the good ole USofA I have the right to speak my ideas and have the opportunity to rationalize my ideas … and others have the right to criticize … me & my ideas.

 

It’s not personal.

 

At least it’s not if you believe it is a battlefield of ideas and not a battlefield of people ideas think light business‘messengers’ or personalities.

 

We need a battlefield of ideas. And we need this battle to be fought every week, every day, every hour and possibly every minute.

 

Why?

 

The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas — the appropriate response is a better idea. We are here because we have a better idea.

 

We deserve not only better ideas but the best ideas. And the only way I know to get the best ideas is … well … to have a battlefield of ideas. The world, and society, would be a much better place if we actually stopped battling over meaningless things and battled more over the truly meaningful things — ideas.

 

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Enlightened Conflict