Based on “Winning Arguments”
People may strive to get along and cooperate but, most of the time, eventually, arguments will prevails. Even when all parties seem to reach a resolution, their agreement rarely lasts. International agreements, peace accords, trade deals and other covenants, no matter how solemnly undertaken, exist only until one of the parties sees an opportunity to get more of what it wants. Which can turn even the small differences into a large ones.
This is because, humans never reach a state of “universal agreement” since conflict is the normal state of things.
We can’t avoid arguments, so we might as well master it.
This would involve learning the art and techniques of rhetoric, the manipulation of words and appeals as well as when, where and how to use them.
Such knowledge will give us awesome power, far stronger than “sticks and stones” tanks or missions. Rhetoric and arguments lie at the foundation of democracy, the rule of law and the heart of war. Words and arguments don’t merely hurt, they can tear a person in two and destroy worlds.
For example . . .
In John Milton’s Garden of Eden in “Paradise Lost”, Satan convinces Eve to eat the forbidden fruit by first sowing a smidgen of doubts in her mind about what God really meant when He warned her and Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge. Satan eventually makes Eve believe that God actually wants her and Adam to eat the fruit to prove they have minds of their own. Eve was lost the minute she listened to Satan, who is a master of rhetoric, and the Devil knew it.Disclaimer : Not the Islamic version of the event
By creating slivers of doubt in otherwise clear, well-understood truths, many people-including rogue scientists, politicians and business leaders which have time and again actually convinced significant numbers of people not to believe in broadly held scientific consensus.
For example . . .
Casting doubt on facts such as that smoking causes serious health issues or that DDT causes environmental harm or that human action contribute to climate change.
Translation: When it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “Why, we only Want to make peace!”
These merchant of doubts or I would say the mischief maker, know that they don’t have to take on the overwhelming body of science, fact and evidence that they hope to dispel; they need only to point out that the science isn’t 100% “conclusive” and that scientific “consensus”, no matter how overwhelming , sometimes changes with new discoveries.
These naysayers argue that government shouldn’t implement policies on grounds of inconclusive evidence based on loose consensus. They advocate letting people look at the evidence and making their own decisions.
If we were to take a look at all the political masters, most if not all are master of rhetoric. And unfortunately, most people will fall prey to the master orator. They don’t have the time to inform themselves fully on critical thinking skills to spot the flaws in a manipulators’ argument.
If you’re looking for a good manipulators in recent movies, I would think of the likes of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald from the movie of “Crimes of Grindelwald”. They are awesome manipulators.
What’s needed is only a small seeds of doubt, which once planted, will hang on with resilience. Ample expert opinion to be contrary doesn’t end argument but rather fuel them.
Rhetoric is the only answer to rhetoric, and only argument beats argument. And the one who able to present it well, might rule supreme.