Love of Truth: Discussing vs Arguing

It’s kind odd that I don’t like direct conflict but I enjoy debate.

I blame my parents.  Both my mom and dad taught me to idealize truth and honesty.  My dad gave me the debating skills to pick apart any argument and he taught me the love of wisdom.  My mom gave me an irritable disposition that leads me to being very upfront with my opinions.  Also, my mom gave me a non-intellectual interest in human nature.  Combined together, I have an equal ability to analyze both the argument and the person making the argument.  Furthermore, my mom gave me a stubborn streak that goes directly with an ability to obsessively think about something for endless hours.  To mix metaphors, when something gets caught in my craw I don’t let go until every stone is turned.

But I can’t entirely blame my parents.  The MBTI personality type that I am is INFP which is fairly different from my parents’ personalities.  INFPs are idealists to the extreme.  In a sense, I took too seriously the lessons my parents taught me.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I see every side to every argument, I could almost make a good zealot.  Sometimes when an INFP gets hold of an issue or idea that they consider of great value, they hold on like pitbulls.  We INFPs may look like fluffy teddy bears, but we often have sharp teeth.

My intellectual side is partly a genuine aspect of my identity and is partly learned behavior.  I have an inner sense of self that is sensitive and non-rational to an extreme.  I live more by imagination than by thought, but it’s thought that I often use to relate to the world.  Right or wrong, I tend to use my intellect to justify my existence.  I just want the world to make sense.  And because of this I’m hard on myself (and everyone else) for failing to make perfect sense.  It’s kinda sad, but it’s my life and that is just the way it is.

So, when I’m in an irritable mood or when a value of mine is challenged, I can be a tireless debating opponent.  However, I’m usually only aggressive to people who deserve it.  I call them like I see them.  If someone is being mean-spirited or if someone is flaunting their ignorance, then I’ve been known to clearly point it out to them.  As I see it, either discuss intelligently and politely or don’t say anything at all.  If you have nothing relevant to add but still feel you must throw in your baseless opinion, then I will tear your view apart until you either shut up or start crying like a little sissy girl.  But as long as your comments are minimally relevant and rational, I’m perfectly fine with disagreement.  In fact, I love disagreement of the intelligent variety because it means I can learn something new.  And when learning something new I’m in a very good mood.

I realize I should be nicer than I am sometimes.  But the fact of the matter is that I’ve always valued honesty above almost everything else.  I worship at the altar of truth.  And if you get in the way of my ideal of truth, I can’t be held responsible for my behavior.  Let me just say sorry in advance.  If you ever catch me in an irritable and defensive mood, just let me vent and afterwards I’ll quite likely be one of the most warm and understanding people you’ve ever met.  As long as you’re willing to be honest and considerate with me, I’ll do the same for you.  So, be open and upfront in how you express yourself and I’ll do my best to understand your view.  Talk straight with me and don’t play psychological games.  There is no point to it.  You’re wasting my time and your own.

If all you want to do is argue, I’ll sometimes concede to that way of relating… until I become too emotioanlly drained (which can take a long time as my obsessive persistence usually lasts longer than that of most people).  If you want conflict, I can be a worthy debate opponent.  Sadly, though, it seems to me that those who seek conflict the most are the very people who aren’t talented debaters.  Be argumentative if you must but at least be interesting rather than simply annoying.  In particular, I’d rather not deal with the condescending snarkiness of know-it-all intellectual wannabes.

I should add that what I love most in life is seeking and sharing knowledge.  When I get obsessed with some idea or topic, I can spend enormous amounts of time doing nothing but research. I dig deep to find every interesting connection and every significant detail.

If I don’t know something, I admit it.  But I’m not content to simply admit my ignorance.  If it’s important enough to voice an opinion about, then it’s important enough to inform myself about.  If you ever find yourself debating me, don’t pretend to know what you don’t actually know.  I will check every fact you claim and I will look up precise definitions.  I don’t care if you have a college degree and are an expert in your field, don’t try to bullshit me.

Most importantly, don’t present opinions as facts (and the same goes for beliefs).  That is just plain wrong in my book.  Opinions are fine.  I have plenty of my own.  Just be humble enough to admit that it’s just an opinion.  If you lie to me about a fact or simply talk ignorantly, I will throw it back in your face and will publicly humiliate you with glee.  Or if you try to hide your true intentions behind facts and logic, I’ll pick at them like scabs until your motives start to show.  Don’t mess with the truth and I won’t mess with you.

All that said, I’m a pretty easygoing guy.  You have to be trying hard to get me rattled.  Basically, I really really do enjoy a good discussion and I’d rather have a friendly exchange than a heated argument.  I get excited about exploring new possibilities and I’m happy as can be when I meet someone who knows something I don’t.  As I see it, the quest for truth is an endless quest because truth is a mystery best understood in terms of questions rather than conclusions.  If like me you are a lover of truth, then we shall get along like best pals.

16 thoughts on “Love of Truth: Discussing vs Arguing

  1. Truth in many different ways, nice.
    Take it easy with people, man. You have done a lot of psych and other social sciences so when people act in certain ways, be tolerant of em.

    Don’t want to be that pious man but just try to make your point known and try to educate the person on his or her ignorance. If not today, the message will sink one day. There also is them that need some harsh treatment.

    In my few years here, I see that some are just a tad too unconscious. Some too conceal themselves, a survival tactic or malevolent one.

    You are a man of possibility so just be patient with em. Sometimes everything points in west while actually, its NNE. This is just my personal experience plus reflection on the radio so…

  2. I know, I know. Take it easy with people. That is good advice. I do try to follow it as best I can, but I just accept who I am. I’m not perfect.

    The only thing that keeps me going in life is my search for truth. For some people, debating might be just a game. To me, being deceptive or willfully ignorant is sacrelige. If someone has little respect for knowledge, then they should avoid me and trust me I’ll try my best to avoid them.

    I’m not critical of people for being ignorant. I accept that general ignorance is the fate of being born. I understand why people are resistant to admitting they don’t know something. The world feels like a safer place if you convince yourself that you have everything figured out. Being humble is always a challenge and I’m far from being an exemplar of humility.

    All I can say is that people are just the way they are. You either accept others as they are or you don’t. I’ve tried to be very accepting in my life, but I realize I have clear limits to what I’m willing to accept. So, I choose to accept my own limits. Even if I feel unable of accepting certain attitudes, I do at least try to understand where people are coming from. That is the best I can do.

      • Well, that may be true, but let’s not compare too much? haha and I’m not sure and who’s to say? Although, I didn’t grow up with intellectually simulating parental influence like you seem to have so I guess it must be true to some degree. My parents were both a little uneducated with my mother at least trying to go to community school but ultimately failing and not really finishing to complete a degree. My father on the other hand is a mystery to me since he was mostly absent in my life anyway but he either only had high school education or he is actually smart because i found evidence online before that he went to some engineering tech or mechanic or both (something like that), I’m not entirely sure and I’m not sure if his credentials I saw on his immigration card and online documentation are true or not. Anyway he was known as a liar to my mother.

        I don’t know if you finished college or not (not that college should be a total representation of how smart anyone is since intelligence comes in many forms), but I know I didn’t finish it so I guess if you did, then somehow that makes you more intelligent than I. (being sarcastic of course) lol anyway, I’m not trying to be rude or condescending here or undermine or question your intelligence or that you are more intelligent than me or other infps, but I just think its interesting and funny so I guess I’m just teasing you in a way.

        • By ‘intellectual’, I don’t necessarily mean well educated. But it depends on what you mean by well educated. Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln were people who had little formal education, and yet they loved to read and learn.

          As for myself, I dropped out of college after the first semester because I flunked a bunch of courses and I hated it. I later did another semester at a local community college and dropped out again. I have a learning disability and severe depression, which doesn’t make school all that fun. Still, I read voraciously and spend too much time thinking.

          Being intellectual doesn’t mean much more than that one is to some minimal degree capable of and maybe enjoys mental activities. To be intellectual doesn’t require one has a lot of education. It doesn’t even have to mean one is all that brilliant. It’s no different from someone being an artist, whether or not one is a formally trained, highly talented, and professionally successful artist.

          In this context, I just meant that most INFPs I’ve met tend toward more creative and/or interpersonal occupations and hobbies. That was my experience when I spent a lot of time at an old INFP forum, Global Chatter.

          • Fair enough, it makes sense and thank you for the clarification. Same here, I also read a lot of stuff but on the web mostly although I should read more books but I don’t since I usually prefer watching films instead and yeah I spend a lot of time thinking a lot or over thinking a lot as well. Global Chatter? I shall check that website out maybe. I used to on Personality Cafe forum a lot. Are you familiar by chance?

          • Global Chatter no longer exists. The person who hosted it had troubles with hackers, virus, or something. It was closed down and as far as I know never brought back. There is a Global Chatter facebook page. Personality Cafe is one place many people went from Global Chatter. Another is Typology Central. I’ve spent a bit of time on these and various other typology forums, but not in a long while.

  3. ohhh I see, that’s so sad and unfortunate 😦
    Anyway, have you thought about vlogging before by the way? jw I think it would be cool lol I’m gonna be doing stuff like that soon along with artistic pursuits XD

    • I’m strongly introverted, in the Myers-Briggs sense. I’m generally not gregarious and on the shy side. I don’t enjoy putting myself out there to be scrutinized, even if only video. Written word allows me to moderate more how I present myself. I prefer a more thoughtful way of communicating. Writing gives me the time to put my thoughts into order and let thoughts and feelings settle out.

      • Ahh I see, I see very interesting. I tend to have an urge to be more of an artistic performer even if I feel a little scared or shy. I also like to write too, but mostly perform without saying too much unless the right moment calls for it.

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