Where Losing is Winning

I like to argue. Not because I win debates, but because in a more immediate way than writing an essay or talking to myself, arguing with other people helps me to process my thoughts into something  more or less coherent. Often enough, I adjust my stance with the new information brought to light or the old information I failed to consider. Some might criticize such an adjustment as loosing face, yet losing an argument can actually be as beneficial as winning.  Tim Dunlop, in his article about blogging as an act of citizenship, agrees with Christopher Lasch that an argument can be an excellent learning opportunity.

Instead of seeing arguments as a source of knowledge, they become seen as a sign of lack of knowledge. This criticism is misplaced because as Lasch says “our search for reliable information is itself guided by the questions that arise during arguments about a given course of actions. It is only by subjecting our preferences and projects to the test of debate that we come to understand what we know and what we still need to learn.”

….. the point is that blogging does provide a way of realizing that other aspect of his (Lasch’s) ideal, namely of creating an environment where ordinary people can use argument to increase their knowledge on a topic.

Though it’s one thing to lose the argument in the comments section, it’s another to have your own blog post ripped to shreds.  As I begin the transformation from mere commenter to blog writer, re-framing losing an argument as winning greater knowledge is a comforting thought.

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