Sunday, April 18, 2010

For the Sake of Arguing

I'm sure we've all experienced a time when we wanted to make a point or defend an opinion but the words either didn't come out right or didn't come at all, at least not until you got home and vented to someone. I've had more than one of those moments in my life, so I turned to my journal, which couldn't argue back.

There aren't many people who want to sit around and debate but when I find someone who will debate with me then it's a challenge I'm always up for. Not all of the debates I've had are worth the time and energy I've put into them, but sometimes I just want to convince someone that 1+1 doesn't always equal 2 (If you think about it, there are a lot of numbers between 1 and 2).

When my sister brought her soon-to-be husband home, she was actually bringing me a great debater, what a prize! One time, this guy debated with me and won, only because I didn't have enough information to support my opinion so I took to the Internet and then to my journal. Here's out it all panned out:

2002 Defeating the Purpose
I've come across all kinds of individuals such as, thinkers, novice philosophers, occasional psychologists, people who euphemize, those who have no original thoughts of their own so they quote others; the list goes on and on. Everybody has an opinion. But in order to be classified you have to have a manner in which you reach and fight for your opinion. What am I? I've heard that I have a lawyer's approach of cornering my prey, where I attempt to plumb my prey's thoughts using a novice philosopher's approach and intellect.

My sister's boyfriend (now husband) falls under the "euphemizing confuser, over-achiever, thinker" category. You have to watch out for him. He speaks fast to divert your attention from your own opinion therefore thrusting your attention entirely onto trying to understand what he's saying. You become so astounded at the force and quickness in which he's talking that you forget what you're fighting for. You can't possibly think up a response and say it as fast as this individual requires in order for him to continue being engaged in a conversation with you. A pause for reflection makes this individual believe that he has "beat" you at this opinion game.

So, one day, myself, my sister and her boyfriend are discussing the Scrabble game we are about to play.
At some point, I, inadvertently say, "I'm going to win you at this game."
Like a bolt of lightning, this boyfriend responds by saying, "You can't win someone. You can only beat them. What are you going to do, take that person home if you win? You can only beat them."
At this point, I'm feeling as though he's literally beating me with a stick, ramming this conversation into my head. I'm left speechless and he goes on to "beat" me at Scrabble as well as his argument. This started the "beat, win, defeat" argument between my sister's boyfriend and me.

Almost one year later, feeling especially thoughtful, I get my sister on the phone and tell her that I've come up with a response to the "beat, win, defeat" argument.
"Uhm, okay," she says.
Sitting at my computer, pulling up definitions on the Internet, I begin to lay out my argument. I tell her that under there are 12 enteries, 52 definitions, and 9 synonyms for the word Beat. Of the 52 definitions, the use of the word Beat, meaning to defeat, only appears twice and not until after 10 preceding definitions and not again until after 2 more definitions. Those two instances show: defeat, subdue, become superior, or better than as the reigning definitions and is only listed as an informal use of the word. You jump over to the word Win and you find 9 entries, 21 definitions, and no synonyms. Of the 21 definitions, the use of the word Win meaning to defeat, appears 21 times in all of the 21 definitions provided. The number one use of the word Win means: a victory, especially in a competition, to succeed or prevail.

Feeling as though I've won this argument, beat this guy at his game and defeated the purpose, I get off the phone with my sister feeling intellectually satisfied. It's not until the next day while I'm on the phone with my sister, who has her boyfriend in the car next to her, that she says, "I can't wait to come over to your house tonight and win you at poker." As if a steadily moving car has just stopped short, my sister's boyfriend says loud enough for me to hear, "You can't win her. You can only beat her at poker tonight."
My sister begins to inform him of my discoveries from the previous night. Whoa! Up comes the "beat, win, defeat" argument in full force. As a matter of fact, the more points we brought up, the slower his response time got. I can feel myself winning. We begin by reminding him that although to beat one at a game is not an improper use of the term, this is not the main definition of this word. We go on to tell him that to win one at a game is the correct use of this term and the main definition of it as well. This is not acceptable to him. I go on to say that if this is a euphemistic argument then we should just use the term defeat to describe the victory in a game.

That's when I defeated the ultimate purpose in the "beat, win, defeat" argument. I have found middle ground in this argument and everyone gets to win.

The funny thing is, I wasn't necessarily looking for a win. I would've been happy using his term as the sole response to a victory, I just wanted to argue for argument sake that day.

Since both my sister and I have had three kids each, neither my sister's husband nor I have enough energy to put into silly debates anymore. Gone are the days I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment