i have had two conversations in the last few days that have made me a better thinker, a better citizen, and i hope a better person.
things i have brought away from them:
- we form a lot of ill-considered opinions, and even if we are still convinced that we are right, it doesn’t mean there is nothing left to learn. i had decided i was pro-choice before i knew what it meant. learning doesn’t always change our opinions, but some, much of it should precede forming opinions.
- not only are we eager to form ill-considered opinions, but the people who educate and raise us stand to benefit from never challenging us to reconsider our beliefs.
- background matters maybe more than anything else.
- something i already knew: people enter into conversations and disputes much of the time to teach themselves how to defend what they already believe. it makes better debaters of us all.
- humility is, in addition to being an admirable virtue, a crucial component in persuasion, even when all you can persuade a person to do is listen.
- people argue for things they don’t really believe all the time. consider yourself fortunate if you are lucky enough to disagree with someone who is sincere.
there’s bound to be more, but this was what seemed most urgent.