Discussing Arguments

Arguments and nitpicking are similar but not the same thing. Valuable arguments have a clear purpose, while nitpicking is mostly just venting frustration.

There are many scenarios in life that can lead to arguments, such as different perspectives on things, evaluations of public figures, or even something as small as what to eat for a meal. From what I've observed, the most intense arguments occur in the realm of politics. They often have their own set of theories or are attached to a certain set of theories. They argue based on reason and refuse to give up until a consensus is reached.

Since I don't like discussing politics and follow my principle of not expressing political views in public, I haven't experienced such intense arguments myself. However, I still encounter arguments in my daily life and work, especially in my work.

The essence of my work is to solve problems and meet requirements, which involves people from different fields, such as the business side that originates the requirements, the design and development teams that implement the requirements, as well as my leader and colleagues. When I propose a solution, it needs to meet the business requirements and ensure feasibility in implementation. The best outcome is for everyone to approve it. However, it is extremely difficult to achieve this. Each party, each person has different positions, experiences, and understandings of things. It is an impossible task to achieve a perfect consensus. Differences lead to arguments.

Since arguments are inevitable, how should we deal with them?

I am essentially an introverted person. I am not good at calling everyone together, loudly advocating my theories, and trying to persuade everyone to reach a consensus, especially by using a forceful tone. I am not capable of doing that, nor do I want to. However, I consider myself a reasonable person, and I believe that reason plays an important role in arguments. It determines that the tone of resolving arguments should be calm, friendly, and above all, principled.

After going through so many arguments, I can't help but wonder, what is the purpose of arguments?

The most obvious purpose is for both sides of the argument to reach a consensus. Whether it's you accepting me or me accepting you, once one side is acknowledged, the argument can come to an end. However, I gradually realized that this is not the ultimate purpose of arguments, or rather, reaching mutual agreement is not the problem that arguments should solve, because if that were the case, arguments would become a means of "persuasion".

As mentioned earlier, the reason for arguments is mostly due to different positions and background information. When everyone has inconsistent information, there will inevitably be a lack of understanding of things. Therefore, arguments should aim to see the complete picture of things.

Taking specific work as an example, the business side generates requirements, I plan the solution, and the design and development teams implement the solution. During this process, I may argue with the business side due to a lack of in-depth understanding of their needs, or I may argue with the design and development teams due to technical feasibility. In these two scenarios, I should seek opinions from all parties and improve the solution, rather than trying hard to persuade them to accept my solution. Because if I approach the argument with the goal of making them accept me or persuading them, the end result will not be conducive to fulfilling the real requirements.

However, in reality, many people, due to face-saving, performance, or even inner vanity, will not argue to approach the complete picture of things, especially when it involves interests and emotions. This is a test of human nature and emotions under the lack of information. Another group of people adopts a "do nothing" attitude, which is also not conducive to approaching the truth of things. Of course, meaningless arguments, such as mindless attacks on social media, are not worth paying attention to.

The above is my understanding of arguments and the theory I practice when arguing. It may not be correct, but I am continuing to make efforts to deepen my understanding of it.

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