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The Art Of Disagreeing Meaningfully

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by HariLakhera, May 8, 2022.

  1. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Art of Disagreeing Meaningfully.

    The ‘agree to disagree’ adage has become stale currently. People have started using abusive language for each other.

    Let us agree that our opinions and beliefs are based on knowledge currently in our possession and knowledge itself is limitless. We have to learn more.

    We are living in our own echo chambers where everyone agrees with what others say. We have to take leave of these echo chambers and make friendships with different ideas.

    Our minds are clogged and no fresh air is entering. We have to empty clogged minds and let the fresh air fill them.
     
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  2. MadhuRK

    MadhuRK Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Sri @HariLakhera

    Your title post immediately made me click and read the text because the subject is very close to my heart.

    When different people have East-West opinions and feel strongly about it, what is the right mechanism to disagree respectfully ? I struggle with this a lot because I feel that I have a strong polarizing opinion on any/every subject for no obvious reason except my ego. I once got an appraisal from my boss "Your honesty is much appreciated, but your raw honesty is not welcome."

    These days, with age and grey hair catching up, I more freely admit that I do not have a strong opinion or that I'm just not aware of many issues in the world. I'm open to admitting the limitations and the extent of my knowledge if one may call it that.

    Most of the times, the person who is coming to have this intellectual argument with me, sees me accepting defeat even before the argument began. So they walk away and I'm left in peace.

    In my office also, I had the same strong opinion earlier, but this has meant that I've made great friends and staunch enemies too. This is just an unnecessary development owing to my own perceptions of justice, truth, fairness, integrity, honesty. Watching a lot of Rajinikanth and Vijayanakth movies in your early childhood can have many unintended consequences, this need for a righteous-verdict persona is one of them.

    Whether its an office or a home, the most successful person is the one who can take everybody along, without alienating anybody, without putting down subordinates, without making any member of the extended family feel ignored, without fear or favor, but always doing the right thing without pomp and pageantry and disagreements not withstanding, did I say "taking people along" ? . Principles of one are just that, principled singular person. No sustainability, no scalability.

    In-order to do be a good leader and take people along, the hallmark of every good leader, one must avoid having strong opinions, avoid people who force you to take one stand vs the other, be open about their smallness in the larger scheme of things. The legendary Lee Iacocca comes to mind.
     
  3. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Great king maker late Kamaraj Ex CM OF erstwhile Madras state comes to mind. He faced numerous situations where he would answer diplomatically so that the other party would think he is not disagreeing. Instead of being blunt he would say the famous phrase in Tamil -ஆகட்டும் பார்க்கலாம்- ok let us see later!
    A habitual late comer to office was was questioned by his boss.
    “ you are late to office today”
    “ am I late to office Sir?”
    “ everyday you are late to office”.
    “Am I late everyday to office”
    He disagreed with the boss disagreeing by only questioning.
    A great guy used to dodge in every catch 22 situation and provide laughter to onlookers.
    Many times it is good not to put one’s disagreement explicitly.
    Often repeated joke comes to mind.
    When a member in Loksabha stated “ half of honourable members here are fools”. There was an uproar and others demanded his withdrawal of that statement. The member agree and stated ,
    “Hon’ble speaker - half of the honourable members here are NOT fools”.

    A senior family friend in New Delhi stated to my mom that life is no good during monsoon in Bombay. My mom said, “ exactly! It is very pleasant and enjoyable weather”. The man was perplexed. Then he said aarey milk is bad compared to Delhi milk of Mother Dairy. Mom responded,” yes. You are correct. The curd formed out of Aarey milk was thick and in a tight slab”.

    Thanks & Regards.
    GOD - Let us agree to Disagree!
     
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  4. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Mam,
    The subject is of great interest to me also. At every stage of our life, we have faced people with different views, sometimes totally against ours. During my school and college days, debating was one of my hobbies. But debating for winning an award and debating for winning a point is different. We did express our opinion while in office but there was a system within systems. The decision was left to the boss. But there still were places where you have to take decisions of your own and your experience helped you.
    In social life, debates have been overtaken by arguments. As someone said, do not start an argument, if you can not continue it, and do not continue it if you can not win it. But the opposite happens. People try to impose their opinion in any way and at times, depending upon their position in the situation try to hammer it out, which leads to hot tempers.
    No one is fully knowledgeable. No opinion is universal. Even truth is not universal. The only way is to listen, weigh and express. The other way is to learn more as situations change very fast. What might have been right yesterday may not be so today.
    Worst come worst, we can agree to disagree and still remain friends.
    For the last few years, things are going from bad to worse, thanks to WhatsApp and Twitter. Opinions are forced and if not accepted professional trollers are let loose.
     
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  5. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Reminds me of Ravindra Nath Tagore. It is said that he used to read his poems to his friends before publishing. The friends would tilt their heads this or that way as if appreciating the poem. One of them will always suggest changing one or another line. Tagore would do so to satisfy him but revert to the original after the friends left.
    But that was easy, and in those days, no one took offense. Now if some Tagore of today, does this, that friend will feel dishonored.
    The orchestrated debates we watch on TV are sickening. The language used in social media by trollers is sickening.
    Why can't people talk in a civilised language?
     
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  6. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Hariji,
    I fully agree with you. Forcing our opinions on others is like bullying. We make more enemies than friends. With outsiders we may so 0k you are right in your place and I am right in my place.
    But what about family? Sometimes we have take a stand. Then conflict comes.
    Syamala
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Hari Sir,

    Disagreements are part of our lives and I am a believer that if I disagree on any view, I have not only a duty but also responsibility to communicate that to the person, especially if it is a relative or friend. But I don't much care if there is a political difference or something that has no direct impact on the relationship.

    I worked for a public company and the CEO of this company was extremely arrogant and never cared about the time of others. He used to come late to the meeting making 10-15 executives wait and when he arrived, he used to say, "I don't have much time. Everyone needs to be brief giving updates". I told him once, "you have wasted much time already" and he was furious and asked how. I told him, "Everyone who is sitting here waiting for you for this long were part of our company and since all of us work for you, it is your time that was wasted by you being late". Everyone thought I was going to get mouthful from him but he kept silent and never told again that he didn't have much time in the meeting even if he was late. He understood that if he didn't give respect for his colleague's time, it was as good as wasting his own time available at his disposal.

    I do have disagreements with my family members every one and then and I never fail to communicate my view even if it has a friction in the family. Mostly, many issues are resolved quickly by direct communication of differences. In some cases, even if it is unresolved, at least, there is appreciation that we spoke our mind.

    There are situations where I communicated my view strongly that resulted in the relationship strained once and for all that include my own sibling. But those situations are on my values and principles and I willfully made a decision that my values and principles are much more important than the relationship.
     
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  8. MadhuRK

    MadhuRK Finest Post Winner

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    Loved this incident @Viswamitra sir. I could imagine your CEO being furious and tongue-tied at the same time. What a supercilious attitude this person had !

    When power and position go to a person's head, strange things happen. I pity their ignorance. Here in Silicon-valley where I work, there are too many young kids for whom success comes early, perhaps a little too early. So they never have the time and opportunity to mature into seasoned leaders who have the wisdom to see that success or failure is just a matter of chance.

    My father is the kind who spared no words and would not suffer fools gladly, although his heart is as pure as a white paper. As a result, both his in-laws (mother's side) as well as his own siblings/parents kept him far away.

    The loss has been theirs as my father no longer has to make pretentious, shallow talk with social daisies and has been able to put his retirement to good use.

    So many unasked blessings and unanswered prayers !
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  9. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Syamalaji,
    I see it so openly. How come that relationship does not matter anymore, opinions matter.
     
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  10. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Viswa,
    Very few have the guts to say to the boss you said. In my case, I resigned the next day. The management somehow persuaded me to stay but I did not take my resignation back.

    Yes, differences add to the value not only in organizations but in society and families also. But there is a way of communicating. Convey your opinion by all means and that is why you are there but maintain civility. No foul words.
    The moment one loses his or her temper, the reasoning leaves.
     
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