KATHMANDU: We hear debates everywhere — in families, with friends, at tea-shops, in offices and in politics. We love debating so much that we have become obsessed with it. We admire someone with the power of logic. We also mentally rehearse to find
impressive logic so that we can defeat our opponents. Most often, the opponent is not an enemy but our near and dear one. What could be the reason behind this?
One reason is that in schools and colleges, we are taught only one way of proving ourselves right — through logic. Edward De Bono,
author of 67 books on thinking, traced the tradition of debating back to ancient Greece. He gives an example of Greek-based logic system: “All fire burns, therefore, this fire will burn you.” Bono says in his book How to Have a Beautiful Mind, “This system has been wonderful in science and technology, but much less useful in human affairs where there are interactive loops.”
Logic has its own place. Math-ematics is all logic. But, because of the domination of science, we learned this system of thinking for our life too. Most obvious is the ridiculous show going on among political parties. They think that when they can prove their
opponents wrong, they become automatically right, just as in mathematics. But human reality is not as simple as math-ematics. Life is full of spectrums. There are no truths or untruths, only spectrums of truths.
Buddha criticised people obsessed with debating as argument-ative, and says that they become blind due to their own ego and ideas. It is this obsession among our leaders that has led to our country’s uncertainty. Bono has created the term ‘logic bubble’ and he says, “It is easy to label a person as stupid, ignorant or malevolent. But that person may be acting ‘logically’ within his or her ‘logic bubble’. That bubble is made up of the perception, values, needs and experiences of that person. If you make a real effort to see inside that bubble and to see where that person is ‘coming from’, you usually see the logic of that person’s position.”
The communication method to see inside the bubble is dialoguing. If we want to progress on a topic, we need to enter into a conversation. Such a dialogue begins with the openness of the mind. It is an exploration — exploring inside the ‘logic bubble’ of the other party. Before proving someone wrong, we can explore the real causes behind the person’s logic. Logic is only the mask and real person is
behind it. Only when we are able to see behind the mask are we able to understand the real causes behind the opinions. Then we can create a shared understanding from where communication can reach a new level.
Dialoguing is done with a learner’s attitude and the sense of wonder and readiness to explore all possible ideas to discover the best options which is yet to emerge. It is an adventure in communication to find collective victory that includes the involved parties and people at large.
(The author is a leadership trainer and consultant associated with ‘Kabule — The Wise Leader’ and ‘Catalyst for Transformation’. He can be contacted through email@example.com)