Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Argue Effectively

This is a quick tutorial on how to argue effectively. Most people fail to argue effectively due to a lack of professional training or relevant experience in the matter; however, this can be quickly corrected with some mental pointers.

A key factor behind argumentative failure is a lack of focus into the aims of the argument, and consequently, the use of arguing methods unsuited to achieve those aims. The untrained arguer uses the same methods for all occasions, a mistake that often leads to frustration.

People may argue with one or more of the following three aims in mind. Each aim may best be pursued with a different method.

1. To Convince Another Of One's Views
One common aim is to convince another of one's views. It may be to convert another person to adopt one's views, or to get the other to perform some action according to one's suggestions. The motive here is to convert or subvert.

The untrained may attempt to use logical reasoning to achieve the task, but this is an extremely poor and inefficient method. Rather, sophism should be employed. Sophism is a style that employs the prejudices and emotions of the other to achieve the goal of conversion. Logic and reason are not necessary; in fact most people tend to be wary of such things. A brilliant and convincing statement often trumps the effects of any factual inaccuracy or logical inconsistency.

2. For Personal Satisfaction
The other common purpose of argument is as a vehicle of personal satisfaction. Pseudo-dominance is often established through verbal sparring, with the corresponding trophies of pride and bragging rights.

Most people fare decently here, but those that fail to understand their motives earn only frustration. Once again, logical reasoning is barely useful here; logic sometimes adds to the smug satisfaction of ridiculing the other, but it is too inefficient a weapon. The proper method is to attack the opponent's being. Personal attacks that are relevant should be employed with the aim of triggering an satisfying negative reaction in the other. Other underhanded methods of offense can similarly be considered.

3. To Explore A Topic
Logic is best used in cold and calm situations where the aim is to arrive at wise conclusions. Unfortunately, nobody really argues for the sake of gaining greater wisdom, not in today's age. Thus, we can safely ignore this rare category of argument.

I hope that after this very brief tutorial, the reader would have obtained a greater understanding of the tactics and strategies used in arguing, and such understanding subsequently put to use for the greater(!) benefit of society.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Clockwork Heart (Part I)

A terrible sequence of events (which I do not wish to discuss) caused me to lose my heart. It did not prove to be a serious problem, however, as I simply had it replaced with a clockwork heart made of springs and cogs.

To be truthful, I was afraid of what would happen if people were to learn of my new organ. It wasn't that I feared people giving me queer looks and wary stares; somehow I didn't seem to care what people thought anymore, and in any case the clockwork heart was in no way visible, just like a heart of flesh and blood, hidden within the chest opaque to the view of men. Rather, I absolutely loathed people making a fuss over my new heart and bringing forth a multitude of inane questions which I had no wish and desire to answer. And thus, I kept silent, and nobody quite knew.

It wasn't difficult to keep the secret, but there were one or two complications that required me to be on my guard. The first problem was that I had to wind my clockwork heart twice a day, otherwise it would run down and cease to work. Needless to say, this was not an outcome that I desired. Twice a day meant twelve hours between windings, which wasn't a lot of time to work with. In the beginning I would try to get by with a winding just before leaving work and another just after work. However, events often made such a plan difficult and risky; there was one time when I was stuck in the commute with nowhere to get off and wind the heart in private; fortunately the traffic cleared up and I got home with minutes to spare. But after that one experience I thought to myself that there was no way around it, and I had to work out a plan to wind myself during work.

Initially I tried hiding in a toilet cubicle and winding myself in secrecy. A few days after, there were murmured rumors of an unknown toilet onanist in random Men's toilets of the office building. I suppose the sound of the clockwork mechanisms being wound did, after reverberation in the hollow cavities in my chest, sound like dampened hum of a vibrator. It did baffle me as to how and why people thought that someone, presumably male, would use a vibrator, but somehow I didn't really want to know the answer. In any case, a new and better plan was required.

This story is incomplete and will be continued later.