Arguing is useless

In Chapter 2 of the Inner Chapters, Chuang Tsu says, ‘Words that argue miss the point.’ Arguing is useless, since there is no sense in wanting to be right and no change of heart in being proven wrong. Arguing makes a mockery of dispassion: niceties turned into traps in order to be sprung upon unprepared opponents. But all the world is an opponent, unprepared or at the ready, as are all words. Your folly is not a fine one: no one is ever convinced by the force of your arguments. He is merely brought to submission, or oftener he deems it not worth his time to go to the trouble of piping in. And whatever aggression is wrought upon the antagonist by this means is wrought and heaped ten-fold upon the self. How pointless a life spent arguing is illustrated in the coiled lips, the hurried steps. the bad faith of the consoling words that, ‘After all, I really made a difference.’

Advertisements