Zia Hassan

Values Are Icebergs

+++ title = “05” date = 2019 +++

A classic feature of Facebook these days is the endless and circular arguments people get into. I’m a proponent of conversation, of debate, of thoughtfulness. But I rarely see arguments on Facebook or Twitter achieve anything useful.

Persuasion doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. If I have a belief and you challenge my belief, I might counter-challenge and we might both emerge with a better sense of the issue due to being exposed to two varying perspectives.

One of the classic types of arguments online (and in person) are the ones where people clash on values. In other words, it’s less about some kind of intellectual exercise in debate, because the goal isn’t to persuade or be persuaded.

Values are not arguments, and though they might inspire debate, values are relatively immobile. Values, like ice bergs, seem to take quite a while to reshape themselves. And it’s likely that it isn’t words that can change values, only _your_life experience can do that.

So once again, the answer seems to be the same as it is for any conversation or relationship – use technology to maintain, but use face to face intellectual discussion for deepening. All the nuance of face to face discussion that we leave out when we relate online makes the whole exercise a waste of time.