'Agreeing to Disagree' Is the End of Truly Listening to Each Other
For all we make about our disagreements with each other, we are bound to have more in agreement by the nature of conservation.
When conversation hits a road bump, participants often turn toward a way of agreeing with each other without actually having to agree. It's the famous "let's agree to disagree" line. In my own life, the proposal tends to come up in two specific cases:
1. A way to move past a superficial disagreement (someone is quibbling and they think it's cute) to get closer to the heart of what we're talking about.
2. A socially acceptable way to end a conversation that is beginning to get heated — without saying something like "You're a jerk. How could you think that?"
In the first situation, I'm thankful to have the phrase. In the second, I'm grateful for the peace it delivers, but am ultimately left with an empty feeling, as though I haven't properly understood the other person, or that they haven't adequately listened to my point of view.
For all we make about our disagreements with each other, we are bound to have more in agreement by the nature of conversation:
"There is a sense in which we must agree to disagree — that is, we must agree in order to disagree. We need to converge sufficiently in our understanding of some matter of importance for an interesting sort of disagreement to emerge, and we each need to have some interest or motivation to get to the truth of things. On the other hand, we each need to disagree in order for the dialogue to continue."
Aldridge's most interesting argument has to do with the second point mentioned above, that time when agreeing to disagree ends the conversation. He claims that we agree to disagree, and therefore end the conversation, when we are most ready to learn from the other conversant:
"We do our interlocutor no favours by avoiding conversation because we have begun to talk about the very things that we care deeply about. ... It is to assert that we are no longer prepared to be transformed by our interlocutor’s differing view on the truth, and that we are no longer therefore prepared to learn from their difference."
In this incredible lecture, Harvard linguist Steven Pinker examines the ways in which our language belies our true thoughts, which we sometimes have difficulty saying outright for very valid social reasons:
Photo credit: Getty Images / futurewalk
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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