The argumentative man and the doctor
I was reading through one doctor’s advisory to people who are 'habituated to arguing'. His was quite a medical prescriptive for people who, he thinks, are suffering from some kind of psychiatric troubles which are manifested in the form of an argumentative conduct. The meaningfulness advisory is something which I would like to talk .
The doctor begins by stating “ Arguing is almost like a disease”.
The start of the article itself left me much repulsed to it. Long ago, I have written my article on what does the arguing conduct bring to human relations and their society as a whole. Arguing is the hot process of evolution of right decisions. ‘Right’ is , as we all know, a very subjective matter to decide, but then an unavoidable one for human relations to continue and democracy to prevail (Democracy, over here, means respecting everyone's view point when living in a multicultral society.). There are methods known by almost all of us on how the ‘Right’ is arrived at in many of the issue we come across. For example, a simple issue as to why a movie “A” is a hit and “B” is not, has it methods commonly understood as the box office collections of each movie. Important, at this point, is to bear in mind that although this methods of comparisons of box-office collections, is nowhere dictated to be the supreme means of determining the right answer to the question of which movie is a hit, but them that is how it the answer is commonly agreed upon. The aberrations to the choice of method happen when he compare the total collection of some sensible movie 'that of classes', with a popular cinema that of masses.
Similarly, the choice of critics award for a movie is chosen by a panel consisting of people renowned in the field of film making.
Eventually, the bigger conclusion that any person with a standard degree of common sense should infer is that the method of resolution of a conflicting situation is what should be sought in a conflict.
In the society which the present generation belongs to, Democracy has become the new choice for a peaceful co-existence. This is what is the most preferred style in public governance- by the governments on its citizens , and also the most preferred style of leadership in corporates, as taught to business management students and people occupying the managerial ranks.
Issue turns out, in my observation, is that our society, particularly the Indian society, is basically a feudal society. The whole course of evolution of democracy is belonging to the western sphere of earth where the revolutions of nationalism resulted into formation of the basic tenets which yielded democracy as the most chosen governance style. The American revolution resulted in the ‘Bill of Rights of a man and a citizen’, the British internal wars with the monarch resulted into the six basic fundamental freedoms , and the French revolution resulted into the motto of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
So, that is what was demanded out from the governments by its citizens. Understandably, people in that region slowly became habitual to enjoying their fundamental freedom and even grew mature on how to resolve conflicts between themselves in the absence of the monarchial decree on various issue. The system of justice followed the course of these freedom giving it a shape which evolved from their new methods of conflict management. The style of leadership of Democracy grew, not just in public governance , but also in the corporate.
The problem of the east side of planet earth begins with the dual views it generally maintains on the issue of democracy. Democracy was witnessed in the west abut it was liked even by those in the east. The easterners also wanted this new style in their places—the democracy. The problem is, culturally, they are habituated to resolving the conflict by means of a royal decree. So, they easterners ended up adopting a very confused kind of system which they called it by different name.-- the Socialism.
Our own country , India, is itself one shinning example of what this new and funny mixture of governance style is—the Socialist Democracy—a style in which the people will only be choosing their leaders and then the leaders will decree upon the citizens which all ‘rights’ to be granted to the citizen, outside which everything is under the control of the government. Our leaders in the past, as a matter of fact, chose the mixed styles on the reasoning of taking the best of all possible worlds.
Going by the Microsoft™ Encarta Kids ™ lessons on democracy and how it is introduced to small children who read it, the article says that when ‘your’(referring to the small children who are reading the Encarta) play group chooses the methods of sitting together and voting to decide what should be the rules of the game, it is the presidential form of democracy. When your group decides to elect some of your friends those who would decide what is ‘right’, it is the parliamentary form of democracy. Communism, it defines, as a system whereby the government becomes the owner of all properties, and it is attempting to keep no rich and no poor citizen. It further mentions that Communism seems to be losing its appeal.
Comparably, it is clear that a socialist democracy- an offshoot of communist style, is more about control than about freedom. Plainly, if an individual’s choice doesn’t conform to the decision of his socialist group, he is expected to keep shut. In full democracies, technically termed the Liberal Democracy, the individual has a right to prosecute the leading group as well, and it even happens at times that he wins it over the leading group. Apparently, some arguments happen in this style of Liberal Democracy, which eventually result into some different method- a universal standard- to deciding the right.
Looking closely, I observe that almost all the Liberal Democratic nations lie on the western sphere of earth, while all such- the mixed styles of governance- lie on the eastern side. Moreover, all these liberal democracies are the Common Law countries. In the other –mixture styles—the statutes hold supreme. The arguments, in my opinion, in a liberal democracy therefore shift to the court cases and the verdicts of the court settle among the people in the form of Common Law—a law which all common people should be aware of. Parliament or President, all are expected to conform to the common law, unless some special law is made.
In the eastern style, the law remains what the leading style finally decides upon.- the special laws. so much that the common man may not even be aware of them.
That elaborates more convincingly how the style of leadership of the Easterners, example of which contains the Indians, the Chinese, and the Japanese -- differs from that of the westerners who are from Liberal Democratic societies.
This difference should further give clue to why do arguments happen and what should be the better method of resolving the conflict.
The prescription of the doctor, which I was reading, itself raised some arguments inside my mind- Like, when two or more people are arguing—logically because one person should not argue with his own self—how do we decide who is arguing with whom , so that we may prescribe the doctor’s advisory to that person.!!?
Would it be that we prescribe the advisory to both the parties who are involved in the arguments; or the one whom we arbitrarily pick up for our treatment; or the one who is senior to the other.
The court law based system, in effect, decide upon the ethics of the matter in conflict. In other words, Arguments are the Battleground of Mahabaharat in the modern, non-violence, civilized world, where the Dharma, the ethics, churn out. The prescription of doctor may be advised to the party ones we have some Ethics method to decide who to nominate for the treatment of the doctor.
But the problem is , even for that selection, we require to have a ‘methods to decide’--- isn’t this which we call the Ethics.
The irony of a conflicts between two person is that it happens not just when a person or persons are psychiatrically unhealthy, or when somebody has set one person against the other (the proverbial ‘divide and rule’ trick), but also when the goals of two people about an issue, collide.
Such collisions are not resolvable by making a neutrality approach— when both of them are hushed away-, or by taking sides with the one who has closer allegiance to another-, there are the same wars of Ethics which call upon an Objective Approach, path of Nirmoh(disenchanted analysis), to analyze the problem and find the good ethics,- or finding the solutions.
Solution-finding is the best means of resolution of such conflicts; the problem that comes up further is the method of making objective analysis. Immense knowledge is required by the parties involved, or the third party which is tasked with conflict resolution. Expertise and knowledge become essential, evidencing becomes more crucial, public accreditions begins to matter, -- these are what are required for conflict resolutions by way of an agreeable solutions. It is for properly achieving these methods that we are often taught to have an open-minded approach, to stay objective, and to listen to both, or all, the parties involved. The purpose , eventually, is to reach to the ethics of the matter.
It is a different knowledge that sometime Ethical path is not the middle path which is acceptable to both or all parties involved. An Ethical solution may lie closer to any one of the parties, or completely away from all the parties in the conflict. Ethical solutions sometime may not necessarily be the amicable solutions.
The doctor’s prescription is meant for those cases which can be publically agreed to be belonging to a category of psychiatric disorders. It will be worth mentioning that, infact, most of the psychiatric disorders have no definitive parameter in themselves to decide whether a person has the disorder or not. They are merely decided by a public opinion on them, which obviously, can be subject to much debates and arguments, like any other issue of conflict between two persons. To find a peaceful resolution to the problem , the American Psychologist Association (the APA), itself resorts to the Diagnostic and Statistical Method (DSM) whereby to decide that a given case belongs to the illness category or not.
Did our doctor miss out this point??? There are debates and arguments behind that too, which he is prescribing.!
The issue of arguments, in my thinking, is a case of management issue—and the more such arguments are reported, the more is the possibility of poor style of management being exercised, unless , ofcourse, there is some psychiatric trouble somewhere.
It is another observation story to narrate how the cultural disposition, too, is capable of producing a person which by standards of another culture may be called psychiatrically unwell. It becomes a cultural war then.