I am not sure if scientists have yet to identify the specific gene that makes some people more argumentative than others, but I can guarantee that I am a carrier.
I’m not sure the genesis for my innate ability to argue any case, but for the entirety of my life I have found joy in proving people wrong. Cynical, I know.
And luckily for me, when coming to college I was introduced to an entire new realm of perspectives and ideas and people who speak with just as much conviction as me. A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF DEBATES. *Cue the choir of angels*
And even luckier for me, it seemed that the majority of these new perspectives and ideas completely disagreed with my own. Yay…
The university classroom has become my debate stage. My political, philosophical and moral beliefs are questioned at every turn. Being a college student in today’s society has prepared me to argue any of my beliefs at any given time. And to do so with a plethora of knowledge I did not previously have.
It has also forced me to encounter a very strange breed of debator. Mostly comprised of those falling under the category of “Gen Z”, or as I like to say, “Generation Zeal”.
Generation Zeal spawns from the technological times we are currently submerged in as a society. A society that is so reliant on our emotions, we disregard the need for facts, logic and singular truths.
Generation Zeal speaks with great cause and emotion. Aiming to sway you to their side of things based on emotional appeal alone. Specifically, fear.
It is important to note that I would not categorize everybody I’ve come across as being a member of Generation Zeal. This is a specific set of people who speak with such certainty about issues, basing arguments off of the way a story or course of events has made them feel, rather than stepping outside of the situation and examining every part.
The dangers of being a part of Generation Zeal should come as no surprise. A society arguing and making decisions based on feeling alone is dangerous. As we toss out the reasoning and rationality that sagacious philosophers before us used to lay framework arguments pertaining to political, scientific and ethical dilemmas we still face today.
But, I cannot blame Generation Zeal or it’s zealous members. I understand that the easiest way to win an argument and persuade others can be linked to strong emotional appeal.
We are constantly overwhelmed with news and opinions via the modern black plague that is social media platforms. We have the ability to watch news events unfold in real time, accompanied by the ability to insert our opinion in real time.
This has led to a society that is quick to respond with how a certain situation made them feel on an emotional level rather than taking time to research the different sides and logically making a choice from there.
We live in a very “Us vs. Them” society that has continued to divide us and make us feel more separated from each other than ever before. Which is ironic in our hyperconnected world.
I urge all to reflect on themselves for a minute.
Take time to consider if you read a headline and automatically know how you feel about its content before actually reading it.
Consider if you even know our country’s political history before diving into the state of polarization we find ourselves in today. Reflect, and think to yourself, “Do I actually know what I am talking about?”
It is okay to admit you do not know enough about a topic to argue for or against it. That is the respectable thing to do.
Not everybody has to have an opinion on everything.
Invest in your knowledge bank and take time to research what you feel is important to have an opinion on.
And please, check your biases at the door.