Eowyn of Rohan (astridsdream) wrote in metaquotes,
Eowyn of Rohan

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On truly Darwinian ideas.

theferrett has some interesting notions on how really good discussions happen:

In my mind, ideas are a Darwinian process, red in tooth and claw. You get into an arena with people who are just as smart as you are, and you tell them how their ideas suck, and they point out how your ideas suck, and eventually all the flaws get pointed at and the good parts begin to float to the top. Eventually, dripping with the eviscerated entrails of inferior solutions, the best idea climbs its way to the top and roars in triumph. ...

But in dealing with other people recently, I’ve finally realized that to many, “Here’s how it’s going to be” has such a ring of finality to it to that they just give up. I don’t understand it –I mean, if you love something, you’d fight for it, right? – but in presenting ideas with the passion that I feel for them, others feel like I’m telling them to can it.

I’ve tried to draw ideas out of people like this, but then it feels uncomfortably to me like I’m watering down what I feel. I mean, I’ve been in groups where everybody was very sensitive, particularly in academia, and nothing ever got done. Oh, I suppose it’s possible that they arrived at some consensus and felt good about themselves, but removing arguing from the equation just seemed to leave people being nice. ...

At the same time, I’m not egotistic enough to think that the loudmouths have all the ideas. I’m positive that the quiet ones have ideas every bit as good as mine, and I want to hear them. The problem is, unless I wrap my words in tissue paper – sometimes, to the point where you can’t even tell what I really want – then I overbear them by mistake and bludgeon them into quietness, where their ideas languish.

Come join me in the dinosaur pit! I cry, yelling at them to surge forward. Let us battle like true intellects! Pick up the sword and afterwards we shall chug hearty ale and participate in the brain-mating rituals of your choice!

Yet they sit on the sidelines in quiet dismay, thinking, How barbaric.
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