Well, I thought of this when I was debating beezle over the existence of god. Strictly an opinion piece.
The Socratic method is a way of inquiry and giving responses to said inquiry which is utilized by individuals who are polarized in 2+ contrasting perspectives. As you already might know (at the risk of sounding redundant), it tends to be used when debating over philosophical or political issue. I can acknowledge the benefit of such free exchange of information but hey there are too many shortcomings. This blog is an attempt to figure out how to discard those same restrictions. When two opponents present their questions and answers, most often they both leave without having reached some kind of consensus. If by unfortunate circumstances there was an audience, it is often left confused and nowhere to turn to for more adequate and "true" answers. Ever heard of the virtue in quality but not quantity? Most often audiences are victim of individuals who appear to be more convincing because they engage in a more eloquent speech which might be 99% devoid of truth. And sometimes, the audience picks and chooses what best satisfies their intellect and close its mind to the rest as if it's junk. I am certain you agree so I don't have to provide any examples at this moment.
I hope I'm not one of those people who prefer to be more eloquent than truthful.
So, the Socratic method doesn't work all the time. Please understand that I am not saying it's completely useless like the title suggests. I am only trying to highlight the depressing observation that its immediate effectiveness is unnoticeable. Especially for those who aren't specialised in its usage. This failure could be due to a number of factors: no harmonious terminology/context/concepts, lack of time and concentration on key subjects, self indulgence and generalisation.
conflicts in terminology/context/concepts
This becomes evident in philosophical debate and mainstream science. If you aren't already familiar, I advise you to read any threads in the category of religion, evolution vs creationism, science vs religion. Yesterday, I was shocked when I saw a comment that reads: "there are many species of humans and this is a widely accepted scientific fact." How many times have you heard evolution is only a theory.
Ultimately, all discussion elaborating on the qualities of God are plagued with the same inconsistencies in terms, context and concepts. For support, I will refer you to some random reply I gave to beezle in this thread to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Please, click here
lack of time and concentration on key subjects
Time is a minor obstacle in our everyday life, we do manage to get by despite our unresolved differences. Concentration on key subjects is another matter though. It is also worsened by lack of time. People simply don't have enough time to list entire aspects of the discussed subject and cannot critically judge all provided information simultaneously. Special exception is due when people try to find common ground over complex issues affecting social and political systems. This is especially important in third world countries where countless of lives are lost reason being governments and rebel forces can't decide trivial matters such as which elite tribe should run the country. Notice how religious people against abortion don't take the time to assess what the mother is going through? Or bible defenders that regard the book as a source of morality and human integrity. Please, click .
I am talking about greed, self gratification and talking about matters that only affect one person and entourage. It's bias in disguise. A form of extremism one might say, since it's hard to accept the alternative to one vision esteemed to apply to all matters of interest. This happens everywhere and you all have personal experiences with this.
Many opt to use that one, I even find myself falling prey to evils of generalisation because of lack of time and concentration on key subjects. I just can't help but disliking it, it's another form of truth twisting without actually being aware you are lying or being lied to
. For instance, a common mistake is when people think that being cold will cause your body to catch some virulent flu since it's very likely to catch the virus in the winter. So it's best not to expose yourself during the season. It doesn't matter that infection is more likely when people are locked inside a ventilated building with carriers of the flu. Another one is ceasing fat consumption to prevent weight gain, ignoring moderation in eating and assuming fat isn't essential to build new cells to replace dead ones. Scammers take advantage of such human defect to recruit individuals into pyramid schemes, propaganda wars etc... In society, many groups of people are marginalised because a small percentage of people likes to shake the world with their terrorist intimidation, young earth ideas, bizarre sense of morality, those whom AIDS will most likely kill etc...
Some philosopher (can't remember the name) maintained simplicity eliminates all weaknesses in communication. Did he mean an argument, however long, should be concise and well organised hence it's simplicity? Or rather, did he literally mean arguments shouldn't be long at all to avoid assumptions, quote mining and conjectures? At least, the answer yes to last question open the door to a very attractive prospect. Remember the painful speeches we are subjected to during elections. Then again, some subjects are so complicated one can't ignore the complex although true nature of its numerous intricacies. I'm reminded of democracies composed of majorities, minorities and in the between; how to answer the needs of everyone impartially and equally.
The solution came to me while I was commenting on beezle's post (first link). Unfortunately, it is rather impractical to the point of bordering science fiction. I implicitly hinted on it earlier in this piece.
We need to find a way of keeping the stream of information impartial, to retain its complexity and be able to scrutinize it simultaneously instead of gradual examination by breaking down the information into bits. It would be the same as looking at the big picture instead of pixels. I don't have to tell you how hard it is to put together pieces of the puzzle hoping they converge into one truth. We need a brain that can process everything faster, that can somehow transmit complete thoughts. To be able to evaluate those thoughts as true or false, correcting them or improving them and eliminating doubt. I am asking for humans to be able to see each other's point of views, similarly to studying someone's mind profile sheet and grading it. Probably, the whole situation requires faster communicating ability, brain hacking to eliminate bias, chip implants to boost brain power for instantaneous judging to avoid hesitation in decision-making. Some wireless adapter will probably be needed to transmit thoughts as well, mainly to prevent confusion with definitions and concepts. We'll be able to see what the other person really thinks. Oral and writing expression, although beautiful, is too limited by standing in the way of true creativity and originality. New ideas are hard to come by, I'm probably plagiarising the work of someone out there.
I can't wait for our species to become an unified front (hopefully no automatons) completely focused on the betterment of itself and environment along with all that it entails. This is still identical to the Socratic method but a bit upgraded. I am too impatient to wait for thousands of years of natural evolution which doesn't seem to have a direction. Who knows? In our evolutionary future, we might suffer the same fate illustrated in the movie Idiocracy.