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Monday, February 2, 2015

Understanding Others

Try to understand where others are coming from

When you speak, debate or post on a blog keep in mind that there are others who have screens/filter, life experiences, views or even traumas you may not be aware of.

For example, being too honest in a discussion about rape, may harm or create a reaction you could easily misinterpret from someone who has been raped or who may be close to someone who has been raped.

On a common gathering topic, if you talk about how celebrities have no right to an opinion or say and continue to harp on how celebrities do not know what they are talking about, be aware that an actor, family member or friend of a celebrity may be in the room. As you know I sit on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, so I can argue with knowledge and experience on how educated, world traveled and intelligent most (but not all) actors and celebrities are. Do not believe media hype.


All professors are not liberal, and even those who have liberal leaning views, may have conservative views on some issues and be middle of the road on most. And professors, like actors, are more likely to be well traveled and educated even if your view of intelligent may be different than theirs.

Attack instead of consider the views of others seems to be a trend that could tear apart our democracy and our civility.  Not acknowledging the validity or experience of another post or another point of view cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

It is why we teach and hope to pass on "critical thinking" in this and other classes.

The truth is not one sided, and not vested in any one person.

Experts in any given field will disagree on most issues, so it is vital we all agree to disagree.


By this point in the term you should have learned not to believe slogans, sound  bites, things repeated too often around the dinner table or office. Do the research and keep your mind open. If you disagree, contribute without attack or confrontation. We have learned about persuasion, the fallacies, demographic differences, screens and filters (Noise), differences in individual experiences, and the importance of being tolerant and open minded.

Above all we should have covered and worked together to understand the experience, point of  view and reasons behind the views of others.



To say that it is OK not to allow people to have insurance for financial reason, because insurance companies refuse to carry them or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age or physical conditions is not the way to have a discourse. To propose a future and a way to transition to a healthier society would be a positive way to proceed on the same argument. Not everyone has money. Not everyone can afford Whole Foods or have the transportation to go to places that offer healthier eating. Not everyone is literate or speaks English. These are realities that should be acknowledged and not attacked.


One sided or unfeeling attacks fly in the face of critical thinking.

In Critical Thinking you should put yourself in the others shoes and acknowledge the other side. It does not mean you have to accept any alternative view, but you do need to know it, acknowledge its value and then use your knowledge in your balanced argumentation to support your points or agendas.  It is a requirement of the course within speeches. It is also something that is key to a democratic society.


I find it hard to question that perhaps there is a need to protect those who are already sick, were born with the wrong color skin, are the wrong sex or through no fault of their own are poor. But I know there are those whose empathy is structured differently or who have a different priority or view of how the universe should work.

I do understand.


However civic public discussion must be two sided, and open to opposing views for it to fit the purpose of this blog, most courses and our need to regain a civil society.

Respect, not inquisitions.

Understanding age and those who are different in any way is part of the process of open critical thinking.

Most courses I teach require this understanding and encourage an open mind, not attack, of others.

I am open to other views, and welcome those different than the ones I state openly on the first day of classes I teach or in my public communications.

I hope that most of you know that the "news and views" in this blog are not all my own. Some are written by others (acknowledged in the post), gleaned from media, presented to be a "devil's advocate" or presented to create two sided discourse (not argumentation), intended to assist in speech topics, content and to provide a platform for applying the concepts of the course (Communication, Media and Critical Thinking) in the wider context of society.

9 comments:

Dane Gerace Com 101-6002 said...

I find all too often people's arguments rely not on why they are right but why everyone else is wrong. They attack all opposing viewpoints instead of standing on their own legitimate reasons, and when they do they exaggerate out of control. The biggest problem though is that it usually works better to attack other people than to reason with them.

Danielle Scarano 4041 said...

people definitely need to be more considerate of others.

Anonymous said...

Everyone I think needs to consider that every person has gone through different event in their life which affects the way they think about different things. Every story has two sides if not more and shoving your opinion down another’s throat is not going to make them consider it even more. By taking the time to prove your points that you believe are right, showing facts in way you believe that way, discussing both your beliefs and the other persons, is a much better way of getting your point across. I would much rather listen to someone who has reason than someone who thinks they know it all and want to shoot down every idea that is not their own. Considering other people’s opinions is going to make you a better, well-rounded person than not.

Chantel T.
4041

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this. I think that this class can be very political and people don't realize that there are other views out there. But on the other hand, it is hard to not stick up for yourself and your beliefs.

Danielle Davis
Com4041

Anonymous said...

I have learned to be very considerate of others ideas, beliefs, and opinions. Being part of an interracial family has really helped me to achieve the concept of open mindedness. Of course being in a family such as this is, obviously, not the only way.


Michael Dubia - COM 101 6002

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dane, when your in an arguement people are always saying well thats wrong because... not What im saying is right because. which would make a difference because you have proved your point.

Alexis Cooper
com 6002

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is a very hard lesson to learn, and to this day, I occasionally fall into this trap. I find myself having a strong opinion about a topic to which I may not have all the facts. And someone else in the room is offended by my comments, not only because they have a personal stake in my argument, but because I was clearly uninformed.
Alan Kennamer HUM114

Anonymous said...

I recently got in a debated discussion with my cousin which ended in a arguement. I realized instead of getting in a heated battle. We could of understood what eachother were saying, so I agree with this statement.

Jason S. said...

The problem with trying to see something from someone else's point of view is you can't. Your mind is structured from all the things that you have endured, that makes it impossible to replicate another person's thought patterns. You might be able to reach the same solution, but the motivations may not be the same.