Spirited Debate on LO LO6771

Scott R. Cypher (scypher@perform.vt.edu)
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 07:00:10 -0400

Replying to LO6755 --

[Host's Note: This is the corrected version of msg LO6770 ...Rick]

I hear you saying that we have a polite/courteous nature to all our
discussions and dialogue, what I call "being nice"

I have noticed that in our society, there is a high priority to be a nice
person, and say nice things, in a nice way. We, as individuals, tend to
make this happen by a number of ways:

1. If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all
2. Word it to be politically correct
3. Play the telephone game
(tell person#1 of person# about person3#, & let the grapevine tell
4. Don't be a person who causes things, be the victim of things (its nicer)

>From my discussions/dialogues with those I work and study with, we tend to
be polite (what I call nice), and not be honest because we are:
a. afraid to embarrass
b. afraid of retribution
c. don't want to hurt a person's feelings
d. don't want to "slam-dunk" you

While I believe there is a continuum of being nice to being honest, most
communications between individuals can be categorized by:
1. Be Nice (polite bullshit I just made up)
2. Be Honest (get the job done, what's my experience of you)

Its a matter of the way we view what someone is saying. If I want to get
a message across to you, and listen to what you are saying, being nice
gets in the way, because I'm not saying what I feel. My intention is not
to a.-d., but to understand what you are "arrogantly" saying.

My essential communication is that I prefer honesty to politeness. Its a
more direct message, uses less words, and typically is less confusing.
Your intent behind your message is clearer to me, and not confounded by
you trying to be polite to me.

I value honesty/openness because it helps me improve and understand what
you are REALLY saying. I don't value politeness because its intent is to
avoid honesty.

Let's say we wanted to have a spirited (all from websters)
discussion [examination/investigation with the goal of arriving at the
dialoge [exchange of opinions to entertain or instruct]
debate [derived from batr=E9, to beat, or battuere, at bat (with a stick)]
[essentially to to combat, beat with a stick, or]
[a regulated discussion between two opposing sides as a test]

whatever something that is important to both of us. Would you rather I
tell you polite bullshit *about* what I really think, or my honest

> Nina Malyshev
> I believe the opposite of polite is impolite not spirited. And yes, I
> think it best that we try to maintain a courteous tone in our discourse
> whenever possible. That is the environment in which most people learn
> easily.


scypher@perform.vt.edu (Scott R. Cypher)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>