By Helena Smith
I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree.
The art of arguing. Not a natural strength for some, and especially not for me with anyone outside of my family. Having never been one for confrontation I have always managed to find a calmer more subtle way to resolve disagreements. And because most of the time that’s worked I’d become numb to loud and outspoken people, believing that a raised voice wasn’t needed. And while I do still agree with that to a degree, recently I have found myself being ready to fire back much more aggressively when questioned on my thinking. Though being teamed with a fiery scot whose has a voice (she won’t mind me saying) with a base volume much louder than most might have something to do with it, it got me thinking about how I view arguing.
I listened to a Ted Talk the other day on why theatre is essential to democracy. The speaker spoke of how she heavily believes in the power of theatrics to resolve conflict because storytelling allows both sides to be empathised with. Then from showing us where the ideas the collide theatre can reveal the most powerful truth, the one in the middle ground.
This I can completely relate to having argued more than we ever have over the last week or so, Susie and I have found some really interesting areas of thought to explore. But of course with arguing comes the ability to let go and be un-precious about the opinion you just fought for. Which is not easy especially when it starts making you question beliefs you’ve held about something for years. And I wonder whether this was a reason I used to find arguing so uncomfortable – because it shook what I thought I had already worked out about the world. Which is a little bit crazy on reflection because how am I going to persuade people to change their perception on something, if I am only willing to do so to a certain extent myself?
The more we argue the more I’m beginning to value the process. The adrenaline starts and you really start to gage on what’s at the core of your opinion. So not only does it teach you to let go of things quicker which is incredibly cathartic, I think it might also be a way of accessing that sometimes hard to find ‘gut feel’ on something.