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oyster  ·  1185 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some thoughts on discussion, opinion and spaces

    To use a stupid example, what do I gain from a deeper connection to a flat earther?

Well, the one I've met in person did a great job fixing my friends watch. The debate ended up being fruitless for both of them when he denied the existence of gravity but writing him off wouldn't have been very kind. People aren't one dimensional and when their entire person gets written off as not worthy they tend to start disliking the people doing it. Enter all those angry statements about liberal elite.

I've got friends who believe in conspiracy theories, they are still people worth having in my life for their many other qualities and maybe one day I'll figure out why they need that belief. Another friend believed women were more important to a child growing up and for that reason didn't support gay men being married with children which is a really convenient belief to have when your kid was moved across the country. In that scenario it's not easy to be the gay man and see them as worthy of knowing. It's also not easy for Daryl Davis to befriend members of the KKK who hate him. Derek Black would have been pushed farther into white supremacy had he not been invited to have dinner with acquaintances. The reason this stuff worked is because there is more to changing a persons mind than sharing all the seemingly relevant information.

I get that on a larger stage we sometimes need to push against more than we try to get to know because stakes can be higher. On a personal level though we don't need to write people off for their positions. I also know it can backfire, I'm not going to go try and befriends a bunch of guys who frequent the same forums as the guy who plowed a truck into pedestrians in Toronto because that would only cause problems. Other men could help, but unfortunately the ones doing that are largely toxic while the others just write them off. Fair enough, I would like to write off anybody who spreads toxic shit that affects myself as a woman, but it doesn't solve anything. I try to be open about my experiences because most people pick a side without really knowing what goes on in somebodies day to day life. I think that's a way we connect with people and I think it's also a way to talk about this stuff while the other person doesn't have their defenses up.

I'm rambling, but to get to the point I think there is more to changing somebodies mind than just exchanging all the relevant information. I think people hold their beliefs for a reason and that reason is more loosely related to the facts presented than anybody wants to admit.