Keep Plato out of your bedroom
Do you remember a little post discussing why Jurgen Habermas might be useful in your bedroom? That was waaaay back, when gapingwhole was a twinkling little babe just past its inception (best movie of the year. Or perhaps The Kids Are All Right. Or 500 Days of Summer. Was that even this year? I digress). But I come with a dire warning. Keep Plato, and specifically Socratic dialectic, the hell away from your bedroom. He does not belong. There are two major reasons. The first is this:
Although he had a wife (and likely a much younger boyfriend or boyfriends), and they probably moaned “Oh, Socrates!”, I’m sure it was with eyes tightly shut.
The second is that Socratic dialectic, while an incredibly powerful tool for convincing buffoons that you are in fact correct about everything, probably isn’t the best tool with your wee shnookum’s cuddlebear. What is socratic dialectic, you ask? It involves two people of opposite viewpoints stimulating critical thinking by asking questions as a means of debate. Well, ideally. What it’s really for is proving that you are right, not by convincing the other person, but by making them realize that they agreed with you all along. You can read their mind. You are just that good.
So, the point is for the questioner to ask pointed questions until the questionee reveals an internal contradiction in their beliefs. Example:
Smarter person: Hey, look at that cute cat.
Less-intelligent-but-still-rational-person: I hate cats. Dogs are superior.
SP: Well that is quite the assertion. Why are dogs better?
LIBSRP: They make better companions to humans.
SP: What quality allows them to have these skills of companionship?
LIBSRP: Why, it is clearly their superior intelligence!
SP: And cats do not possess such intelligence?
LIBSRP: Well, cats are fickle and less rewarding. They don’t obey because they know how to get what they need without relying on their owner.
SP: Is that not a sign of better problem solving skills than dogs, which is associated with high intelligence?
LIBSRP: Well obviously cats are just as smart and wonderful as dogs, I never said they weren’t. *cuddles kitty*
(Note 1: If Em ever comes out of law school hibernation, she’ll tear me to pieces on this one. She really hates cats)
(Note 2: This method would be super useful with religious nutcases, who abound with internal contradictions, except that by definition nutcases are not rational and are generally not smart enough to understand words like ‘contradiction’)
Which brings me to my point. People in love ARE irrational nutcases. Scientifically proven fact, your honeymushpooface is functionally equivalent to cocaine. So you may KNOW you are right, but don’t try Socrates’ route. Example:
muffinpies lokshenkugel: My lovely crockywockywiddle, you changed all of the presets on our Mercedes’ satellite radio to the Oprah channel. I’m not sure this is fair (and I will convince of your illogic, because I know for a fact you are committed to the equality and fairness of this relationship).
crockywockywiddle: I did it because your mother keeps making that string bean casserole for sunday night dinners. It really stresses me out.
muffinpies lokshenkugel: I am not entirely sure that is related. What do you think Oprah would say about changing all the presets?
crockywockywiddle: You’re not LISTENING to me. You don’t love me anymore. If you change them back, I will sell your dog.
Maybe Socrates wasn’t getting laid after all.
Filed under: critical thinking, hypocrisy, understanding | 6 Comments
Tags: conflict, critical thinking, debate, dialectic, habermas, hypocrisy, irrational, irrationality, love, movies, plato, questions, rational, rationality, reason, socrates, understanding