That said, it got me thinking. Read the comments for yourself, but I know Kai and have met Steve (and read some of his stuff). Both are intelligent and insightful. I count Kai, FWIW, as a dear friend and a role model. When she speaks, I listen. Attentively.
In this discussion, from the outside, it was easy to see where both were discussing not quite the same thing. Both right, both insightful... but both disagreeing. Kai saw the source of the disconnect first...
Okay- I'm acting like the director at a fencing match, repeating back moves. Irrelevant. This is what it made me think:
I like debate and generally won't put any rules on it, especially between my friends, but I have my own rules, and this is how and why I debate.
There are debates/arguments either to find the truth or to prove who is better at arguing. These are not the same thing and nearly mutually exclusive. I only play the second in fun and with friends who know what I am doing- and as part of the exercise am willing to switch sides.
When you are looking for truth, seek the common ground. I actually pegged this working with schizophrenics. If you argue about which parts of the world you see differently, both sides entrench and they get nowhere. Start with what you can both see and move out gradually from there, when things start to diverge in small ways it is easier to see paths of logic and compare sources.
Don't get competitive. The need to win can turn debate, which should be (IMO) a search for truth into a contest. People cheat in a contest. The reason I despise Socrates and admire Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus is that Socrates was using debate to make his drunk friends look stupid and the stoics were trying to teach people to live.
Listen. If you follow any debate, watch for the point where the competitive one 'stays on message'- not dealing with what the other actually said, but answering only his own interpretation. This is a subtle form of the "straw man", arguing against what you wished they had said instead of what they did say. Listen.