Have a Discussion rather than an Argument
From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, rhetoric played a central role in
Western education in training orators, lawyers, counsellors, historians,
statesmen, and poets. Even high school students were taught rhetoric.
Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic. It is one
of the three ancient arts of discourse. It's aim is to study the capacities of writers
or speakers needed to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in
Rhetoric typically provides a method for understanding, discovering, and
developing arguments for particular situations. According to the art of rhetoric, "argument" is the activity of logic thus any profitable (good, true, competent,) argument is a manifestation of the reasoning process. With the loss of rhetoric in our modern education system we have also lost or modified the meanings of some of our words related to it. For instance, our modern idea of the word "argument" doesn't mean the same thing as it once did. Instead we should be having "discussions" instead of arguments.
What’s the difference? By today's standards, in discussion we are searching for
the truth, and in argument we want to prove that we are right. In a discussion,
therefore, we want to know someone else's views, and we listen to them with an
open mind. In a modern argument, we don’t care anything about other opinions,
we want them to hear ours, hence, while someone else is talking we are simply
thinking over what we are going to say as soon as we get a chance. Instead we are trying to convert someone to our side, instead of understanding their convictions,
where our positions differ, and the common ground we share. It boils down to 'Discussion is about logic and understanding' while 'Argument is about emotion
I will wrap this up by saying that I do not know of one person in my life that
has been convinced by an argument. Discussion, yes; but not an argument.
Here are a some of "George Washington's Rules of Civility" to keep in mind
when having a discussion
RULE NO. 58
Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for 'tis a Sign of a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion admit Reason to Govern.
RULE NO. 73
Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too
hastily but orderly & distinctly.
RULE NO. 80
Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.
RULE NO. 88
Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of of Discourse.