Why I Do What I Do
Often people wonder why I devote so much time and energy to logically analyzing and debating in complaint topics, focused on figuring out if there are problems with Bionicle. In general, people often wonder why I am logician to begin with. Why do I do what I do?
The following is a quote from a PM that someone (I do not know who, nor do I want to know who) sent to someone I was debating today:
This is a very telling insight. It's not often that I am privy to "behind the scenes" conversations like this (not to over-analyze it, of course). Sadly, it illustrates the wrong way to go about debates that I see all too often in all walks of life--it's about "beating" the opponent.
See, as a logician, I approach debate in a way that has much better results:
I always win.
And I always lose.
What I mean is, I look at debate as a search for the truth, between two sides who are friends. I don't want to "beat" anyone, I don't want to "win", as if this was a game or a sport, as if it was about one-up-manship. It isn't. This is about reality, trying to understand it, trying to find it. About truth. That's important to me, much more important than my own ego or whatever. (I regularly torture my ego, whip it, suffocate it... stuff it in a toaster... Make it step on Lego bricks... )
So, since I look at things logically, if I ever had an opinion that didn't jive with reality, my friends (debate opponents--anyone) would hopefully be able to show me where I was wrong, and I would be glad for this! Because then I could stop believing the illogical opinion, and take up a new opinion that is closer to reality!
If this happens (and it has many times, believe me, lol), I still end up being right. And my friend has helped me get closer to reality, which is what I wanted in the first place. See how this is a win?
However, if I am ever tempted to "beat" someone, or "own" them, whatever the label, I must turn down that temptation, however appealing it may seem. It is a trap, a venomous snake that sings a sweet song until it sinks its fangs in. But my ego so wants to push me towards those fangs. Hence the torture.
I call this "truth-seeking debate."
But the kind that this PMer seems to be using is "defensive debate", where the goal is just to speechify words to defend your own opinion, no matter what it is, no matter whether it jives with reality or not. That's sad. I have zero interest in that.
And there's something else to notice--that PMer said that I am "almost impossible to beat". Well, I would actually say that is true of defensive debaters--if logic itself doesn't convince them of reality, nothing does. Defensive debaters don't want to admit when they're wrong. I do. Really, I am much easier to "beat" in that sense than anyone else.
Because I am honor-bound to concede, when logic demands it. I have to be honest, I have to honestly believe what makes the most sense to believe, as far as I can know. I am very comfortable with this bondage--it means I'm a lot more likely to be right! And I like being right. Not just that--the idea of being wrong terrifies me. Imagine if I was wrong in a question of life or death--and I chose wrong, because of my ego. Now that is scary.
The only other type of debater I can think of is one who will give in for illogical reasons, and that to me is pretty sad--it doesn't have anything to do with reality. Facts should be everybody's "weakness." Except--they aren't a weakness! Facts are what debate is all about! You might be able to sway someone like this, but it's no accomplishment, is it? It's possible you might convince them of reality, but they don't even know it. I am extremely glad I don't live like that. It's important to me to show this sort of person logic too--logic is the key.
So my challenge to that PMer (and to everyone, really) is, can he or she accept the possibility that heshe could be wrong too? What if the reason that debater had trouble "beating" me, is that I actually happened to be right? The PMer seems to assume that I must be wrong. Perhaps the PMer should realize that he or she is actually wrong about something?
As for Bionicle...
When it comes to Bionicle debate, my concern is that there are real problems with Bionicle (or there could be, and have been). I want Bionicle to do well, and to me complaining about real problems is a vital part of helping it do well. If we cannot logically find real problems... what happens when a problem gets too big? No more Bionicle.
It isn't enough to just accept every complaint and pretend it's a real problem--it isn't enough to pretend that if I don't like something, it's a problem. But far more importantly--it is not enough to just ignore complaints, and pretend everything is OK automatically. So I have to logically analyze, I have to challenge people when their logic is flawed, I have to concede when there are real problems that can be logically shown, and I believe that I can do some good for Bionicle this way.
And even if a complainer is logically shown to be wrong, I hope that I can help them see that, and come away happier for being able to know that even though they don't like something, they can rest assured that something is helping Bionicle, not hurting. This is probably my weakest area, and I think I come off as too condescending a lot or sometimes I'm just so tired of debating someone who doesn't realize that what I'm talking about has been debated to death in the past and take too many logical leaps, or I let frustration get into my post, which really hurts this goal. I don't want that--and as a logician honor bound to be honest, I must admit that it is a serious flaw in how I debate, way too often. Trying my best to avoid that, because the goal is to help show others a better way, not to "beat" them.
That is why I do what I do. But--I could still do better, and I thank the hundreds of people I have debated who have been able to show when I've made those kinds of mistakes.
Even though my ego loses every time... I avoid the poisonous fangs, so I ain't complaining. And to people thinking like that PMer--let me tell you, one of the most exhilerating experiences possible is admitting when you're wrong. To people who never have, it can be scary, but I've admitted being wrong enough times to know it shouldn't be--it is actually fun! When I can get closer to reality, I feel like an eagle soaring over the clouds. This isn't a dry, boring, robotic life, being a logician. It is wonderful! And I use the eagle metaphor for a reason--it sometimes feels like having eagle eyes, being able to see what many others can't. (The ego is the rat in this equation.)
And one final note: I am not Spock.