I think we are being asked, right now in our current politics and daily conversations alike, to bring the Greek revolution of the mind down into the heart.
There is one principal in particular, of Aristotle and the sophists, that we should be able to argue both sides of an argument,* that highlights this radical shift in perspective that’s being asked of us.
It seems to me that, over the millennia since the ancient Greeks, we both:
a) in some cases, got quite good at this kind of argumentation
b) more recently, as seen on playgrounds and halls of congress alike, got quite good at just turning an entire argument on its head within moments
Remember that from the playground? Like all of a sudden some kid would say “nope, well now I have an shield that just deflects all your shots back onto you and now I WIN!” and you’re like “no man, c’mon, that’s not the rules … !” Doesn’t seem much different out there, honestly. And, to bring this in even closer, do you know that temptation? I certainly do. To be right! To win! When it’s just a fake rule away, it’s so seductive to begin that one-up game.
With so much rule-turning turning an issue on its head, I feel like it’s forcing the point:
We must learn to feel being the “other side.”
One step deeper than just thinking about it for the sake or argumentation. One step more vulnerable. One step more dangerous, for the waters you can get lost in.
Are we up for it?
This isn’t an answer one proclaims — yes or no — but lives her answer to.
See you out there 🙂
*Aristotle’s words, verbatim: “We must be able to employ persuasion, just as strict reasoning can be employed, on opposite sides of a question, not in order that we may in practice employ it in both ways (for we must not make people believe what is wrong), but in order that we may see clearly what the facts are, and that, if another man argues unfairly, we on our part may be able to confute him.”
I love that line of “not in order that we may in practice employ it both ways …” I reckon the same is true of this heart-level awakening, the feeling of both sides … It’s not that you suddenly don’t care about what you care about; it’s just that you can actually feel the other side “in order that we may see clearly.”