posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 09:51 AM
Debate is an art form.
Upon my arrival to this virtual paradise (at least for me anyway) I was apprehensive about the debate Forum.
Let's face it, there are a number of reasons many of us enjoy the ideals of debate:
- You can exercise your finest arguments
- You can learn about new topics you never imagined before
- You may find people who can help you express yourself
- You may see epic discussions carried out without the theatrics of ego
- You may inadvertently learn something
- You may inadvertantly teach something
- You can feel free to express yourself
- You will not be disrespected or stigmatized
But I was a bit concerned nevertheless. In an ATS Debate competition, right off the bat, you have to deal with not knowing a few key elements:
- You wont know who you are facing
- You wont know what the topic is
- You wont know if the topic is deadpan serious or more lighthearted
- You wont know if your "pro" or "con"
Then there is the 'form' of the debate... it's structure, rules, constraints, and obligations... these add a touch of pressure to the exercise.
Now, add to this the possibility that you are uncomfortable with finding some opponent who takes to debate like a duck to water, and suddenly you may
allow yourself to become stressed out over something that should be taken in stride.
Debates are what we can make of them. Sometimes it hurts to find yourself in a position where you cannot support your side of the argument, not
because of a lack of desire, but of ability to engage verbally. At times like that, I remember that the debaters of ATS are friends, not enemies.
The argument is an exercise in clear thinking and self-expression, not domination. If there is one place where ego - ideally - should have no bearing
on outcome, it is in a debate.
Many a debater has entered the 'arena' seeking to dominate only to find their efforts wasted because 'crushing' the opponent is not the key to
winning... it's your own argument that must ring true and stand against dissent. These kinds of contests are not for those who take to the
competition like peacocks or politicians ... but then... most debaters know that.
The hardest win is defending or promoting an idea with which you totally disagree... against an opponent you admire and respect. It is a game for a
different class of courage.
I urge you to take some time to look at the debates on the record; not the failings and strengths you see... and give it a go. Participation in
debate can be a very legitimate self-improvement exercise. Especially in a safe environment like ATS.