Understanding Self and Others Through Argument

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Arguments aid in the evaluation of one’s ideas and beliefs in a very real way. To make a proper argument one must look at a topic in a majorly objective way, which is something that a person is not naturally inclined to do. To make a good argument, many sides need to be presented and researched objectively. In doing honest research one must see some validity in other ideas, albeit with their goal in mind, asking “How can I use this opposition to strengthen rather than hinder my argument?” This process not only aids in personal growth, but helps in the process of becoming closer to others both in friendship and community. This does not mean surrendering one’s own views completely; for, after research one might very well, and often does, remain loyal to previous beliefs. It simply allows a better understanding of other world views and opinions, and therefore allows one to better understand other people and respect ideas outside of their own. When you can’t respect the beliefs and ideas of others you are listening without hearing.

To say that there are no other valid opinions is to say that an idea is either fact or personal preference. If it is fact, such as that the sky is blue, it is of course not a basis for argument. Nor is a subject argument if it is based on personal preference, such as a personal aversion to sushi. An attempt to find opposing argument to either of these would be futile. However, many things that a person believes to be true can be argued and often are.

Argument is so essential to personal growth in that it requires one to step outside of self and discover things that they would otherwise like to remain ignorant of. Argument forces one to look their ideas in the eye and question them and in doing this either reshape belief or make existing belief stronger. Without any doubt or research at any point, how can one claim a solid belief? Something can be claimed and paraded all day, but if one has not sat down and honestly evaluated their positions how they can say that they really believe anything at all? An idea that cannot be tested and remain solid is not really an idea at all. It is not right, it is not even wrong.