This excerpt is from "Scraps," the thread and pieces of fabric that fell away as the quilt was made.
Stepping Outside of the Argumentative Culture
We live in a world of judgment. All around us the argumentative culture raises one voice and then another in their effort to be heard. Debora Tannen defines this culture this way, “The argument culture urges us to approach the world – and the people in it – in an adversarial frame of mind. It rests on the assumption that opposition is the best way to get anything done; The best way to discuss an idea is to set up a debate; the best way to cover news is to find spokespeople who express the most extreme, polarized views and present them as “both sides;” the best way to settle disputes is litigation that pits one party against the other; the best way to begin an essay is to attack someone; the best way to show you’re really thinking is to criticize.” (The Argument Culture pg 3-4)
In our world, each voice embodies experience, ideas, vision and resolve. But it is also laced with something else: contempt. Whether they are political pundits in Washington or rappers in New York, many people spend their entire lives focused on dominating those with whom they do not agree, hating the ones who sit on the other side of that invisible line.
These voices are truly destructive. The impact of their words is the destruction of many people’s ideas. Or worse yet, their hatred convert those who have opposed them and the other side lashes out with a similar vengeance.
NOTE: This piece was not meant to be without hope, but was meant to point to a problem we need to think about. The book brings a hope that we truly can step outside the argumentative culture and relate in a new and different way.
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