Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
01 Our Future
02 Difference of Opinion
03 Our Anger
04 Punishing Children
05 Child Rearing
06 Our Biggest Problem
07 Evils of Justice
08 Cultural Victimization
09 Rational-Ethical Religion
10 Rational-Ethical Government
11 Global Human Zoo
12 "Homo Rationalis" Wants YOU
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

2. DIFFERENCE OF OPINION



In this second of 12 monthly articles, I will expand my vision of the maturation of our species, now just a toddler, ultimately to become "Homo rationalis." As you may recall, we will then have stopped doing most of these things that cause so much pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED), at last allowing for the "good life" for all of us globally (as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little PSDED as possible).


Last month we said that the first two exponential changes, the development of language and the development of science and technology, are now making possible the third exponential change, our transition from authoritarian ethics (we should do whatever X wants, X being whoever or whatever is most powerful) to rational ethics (we should do whatever will promote not only our survival, but also the good life for us all, now and in the future). Such ethical behavior requires having accurate beliefs about the world, and thus about the likely consequences of potential decisions.


There is not a single thing we can have or do that does not require others having done their part. We have accomplished nothing good without "cooperation." But this cooperation requires a certain amount of "agreement" as to how the world works and what should be done, including what should be done when there is disagreement. And what we agree about should be accurate, to prevent mistakes and PSDED.


Herein lies one of our biggest problems. Our current "postmodern" philosophical belief is that since Absolute Truth, achieved through "proof," is not attainable (according to philosophers), there is no reason to expect agreement. "What is true for me may not be true for you, so let us agree to disagree and move on." In fact, some would say, the more opinions the better. There is great mistrust of unanimity, and with some justification, considering some disasters that have resulted when what we have agreed upon was inaccurate.


"Homo rationalis" will have an entirely different approach to difference of opinion. What indeed would be the most rational response to the recognition of difference of opinion? "Great! We disagree! That means that one of us is probably wrong, unless we are using words differently, and exploration of this difference will undoubtedly make one or both of us wiser. So let’s discuss this in depth, until we agree." The sharing and comparing of ideas has always been the greatest source of learning.


Let’s call such discussion "friendly debate," a procedure whereby individuals, who have different beliefs, try to convince each other of the validity of their own beliefs while listening to the other’s responses, in order to detect flaws in their own beliefs or in the presentation of them, the goal being that of increasing their own wisdom and effectiveness in communication. The criterion of success is whether the beliefs in question are consistent with the rules of logic and the rules of evidence ("make sense," are most likely to be accurate). Friendly debate currently is very difficult for us.


Difference of opinion more often results in "unfriendly debate." The goal is to win or achieve the appearance of winning, by suppressing the other’s viewpoints with interruption, distracting the other from pursuing a logical presentation, or confusing the other and/or listeners by using words atypically or misrepresenting the viewpoint of the other. Anger is often present, manifested by hostility (shouting down, ridiculing, abandoning and avoiding, injuring, and murdering). Unfriendly debate is usually referred to as "argument," and sometimes even "fighting." It is often dreaded.


And the enormous extent to which we minimize the awareness of difference of belief, by avoiding saying what we really believe, goes relatively unnoticed.


If it weren’t for unfriendly debate being the usual response to any effort at in-depth exploration of difference of opinion, we might be puzzled as to why anger would ever appear in response to difference of opinion. Why it does will be discussed later, but you can jump ahead by downloading my free "textbook" from HomoRationalis.com.


And, in fact, if you wish to participate in the effort to help us accomplish the third exponential change, then working on developing the wish and the ability to share and compare all your beliefs with others who differ, without anger or hostility, would be one of your first tasks. In so doing you would be making the world a better place for yourself and others, as I hope to demonstrate.


To be continued….