Saturday, July 5, 2014


Political and martial discussions on the internet often follow a predictable pattern, usually ending with snide remarks, and with either one party leaving the conversation, or with the argument raging on and on with no purpose.

The common thread through most of these interactions seems to be a refusal to accept the concept of uncertainty. Both parties believe, truly believe, they are right. They are certain of it. Just as they are certain the opposing view is contemptible/idiotic/misguided etc etc.

And whilst I understand that certainty is a necessity in particular situations: When you have committed to a course of action, you go. No dithering. When the fight's on - Fight. But conversation is not a fight!!

You are not fighting when you are training or debating, you should be learning (also known as finding stuff out you don't know yet).

If you are always certain, there exists no place for experimentation or imagination. No place for acceptance of error or that there might be a world outside of the box you are familiar with. No space for the unknown.

(As a side note, this box becomes particularly fixed when you only spends time with people that agree with you, a.k.a. your own system/friends.)

In fact I equate interacting with someone who is certain, to sparring with someone who needs to win. They are doing their thing, and often even if they 'lose' they fabricate excuses why they actually did not. (Their opponent cheated. They were just not trying. Their equipment was not performing etc etc).

Certainty to me implies fear. Fear of losing. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change.

How are any of us meant to improve ourselves if this is the place we start from?

Conversation and debate are the same as training. They are practice for making the best decisions you can when it comes time to do so for real.

By all means test the robustness of your argument with vigor and clarity, but also try to draw out what you might have missed, what you may not have thought of, from the other person. That's what they are there for.

You'll never learn anything if you don't listen, and conversely, if you actively listen, you'll learn much, much more.

And remember, we cannot see our own blind spots, that's why they are called 'blind spots', and like Sonny said: "It's the one that you don't see coming that will hit you, so best see as much as possible in training".

Will it work? I don't know. Let's see.

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