The Art and Science of Argumentation

October 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Posted in How To, King markiV returns | 4 Comments
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 ‘Conversation, indeed!’ said the Rocket. ‘You have talked the whole time yourself. That is not conversation.’ 

     ‘Somebody must listen,’ answered the Frog, ‘and I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.’ 

     ‘But I like arguments,’ said the Rocket. 
     ‘I hope not,’ said the Frog complacently. ‘Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions. ‘

 

 – Oscar WIlde, The Remarkable Rocket.

I, for one, am a true lover of arguments. In fact I see no reason why one wouldn’t.  There isn’t a better source of entertainment in all of mankind. Except romance perhaps. Now that is a topic worth arguing!

Plus all the addition to your knowledge bank than a smart enough argument brings in. Existence of God, the correctness of terrorists, international politics, movies, attitudes, love… That is the beauty of an argument- you don’t have to necessarily believe in your stance. Just take one and break the opponent. Quite obviously, one does not have sufficient data in an argument. Of course I cannot prove the existence, nor inexistence of God. If I did, I would either start a religion or a political party. The point being, in an argument one is fielded with insufficient data, left to percolate through one’s rationale and perspectives to build a sufficient justification to one’s stance.

Now, a debate is different. By definition, in a debate both participants have pretty much the same amount of data available and therefore the subject matter is merely interpretation. On the contrary, in an argument, the arguer’s objective is to surprise the arguee with new data. The edge could be in the arguer’s capability to obtain some knowledge that the arguee has not yet received, new or old. Often times, however, both participants know sufficiently low enough information on the subject that the breaking flash is from information quite not related to the question at hand. No- I am not talking about the Palin types.

The greatest source of inspiration for bringing this indisputable unrelated data to the current argument table comes from social networking- specifically the six degrees of separation. Simply said, you should be able to connect any two random people in this universe (in fact any two events, incidents or things) in approximately six steps. There are different ways of doing this. Let me explain with a worked out example using the “same community” theory. 

The basis of this theory is to figure out how two people would know eacho other, assuming people in the same community would know one another.

For example, lets try and connect the tamil legend MGR, to, say, Michael Dell.

1. MGR’s grave is in Marina (Anna Square area)- which makes him part of the famous people at Marina Beach Community

2. Paul Dinakaran, the famous christian evangalist would be part of this communtiy as well, since this was his landing stage for most part.

3. Guy Kawasakhi and Paul Dinakaran would be part of the Evangalists community (Guy was the Apple evangalist in the 80s).

4. Steve Jobs and Guy Kawasakhi would obviously be in the Apple community.

5. Quite obviously Michael Dell and Jobs would be part of the “Will My Start-Up survive as long as I do?” community.

There you go.

I am pretty sure that if you only gave it a good enough thought you could connect any two random people- living, dead or in a doctorate program. 

Let me give you another one. Now try to link up Ramadoss and Jackie Chan. 

1. Ramadoss is part of the “I-know-supporting-LTTE-would-get-me-votes-but-Id-have-to-give-up-my-ministerial-seats” community, sitting right next to Karunanidhi.

2. Karunanidhi is part of the “Used-to-be-in-movies” community, along with Danush (he joined it after Pudhupettai, his only 3 on-screen hours worth classifying as a movie).

3. Danush and Jet Li are part of the “i-look-like-bruce-li-so-i-probably-am-him” community

4. Finally, Jet Li and Jackie Chan are the only surviving members in the “shit-when-is-the-next-flight-from-hollywood-to-china” community.

I could really go on, but thats not what this post is about. Try out the six degrees experiment for yourself- it could be a lot of fun!

Coming back to argumentation, the next skill set is placing a well defended premise aroung the argument.

Lets take the now all-so-frequent economy arguments. Since the arguee would most often take the offensive, punishing the economy for their lack of foresight, you would be left with having to defend the genius of the economists. Since that pretty much allows very little space for well fielded points, a smart enough arguer would move to reductio ad absurdum- reduction to the absurd.

Perhaps I hold reliable data about the prevalence of Aids amongst south Asians. Which makes south Asian markets unstable due to diseases. Since the whole of Wall Street except for the occassional “made in China” computers and “made in Bangladesh” suits beats by the pulse of south Asian markets, a troubled socio economic condition there would obviously carry its effect here. Moreover, the economists had nothing whatsoever to do with the prevalence of Aids in South Asia since they are mostly overworked and often impotent. So there.

Another tactic that I often use is called the slippery slope. Here instead of a premise backing up the argument with data, a number of logical effects are built over the causal argument, resulting in a catastrophic result.

For example, lets run through the argument of two neutral voters- one favouring Obama and the other McCain (yes, they exist). Just for discussion, let us assume that the voters are not fanatics (you must see this city!) and therefore not initially biased against the other. Under the given conditions, the McCain voter votes for McCain, and presumably McCain wins- whatever the reason (rigging, racial bias, high voter turnout, rationality and the likes). The not-so-logical majority would, however, assume the result to be a case of rigging. The country has endured a non-democratic election once and probably wouldn’t a second time, resulting in rioting, picketing and internal conflicts. This would further the already sinking economy to rock bottom, carrying down with it emerging pro-capitalist countries. That leaves us with the Chinese as a superpower. Imagine having Tofu and Springrolls as a global cuisine.

Thus voting for McCain would result in having to eat spicy Tofu for the rest of our lives… With chop sticks! 

 

 

I have finally invested in a domain for myself: http://vikki.me

I will, as frequently as I choose to, blog at http://vikki.me/blog starting my birthday (so I can keep count of the timeline and stuff; plus it helps my ego!). I hope to make that site a collection of marketing stuff- thoughts, ideas, plans and results, obviously with my theories as well. However this space would go on for a bit longer. I hope to continue mainstream randomness, Reena posts and the likes here.

If you do know my birthday, please check vikki.me then. If you don’t, open the site everyday and keep refreshing it every twenty seconds until I throw an announcement.

P.S

How to Fall in Love….

October 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Posted in How To, King markiV returns | 6 Comments
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I have decided to write. I have been wanting to for a while now. No, not just on this blog. The irregularity here, I have pretty much consoled myself to.  Perhaps even reconciled to the inability, googling and wiki-ing writer’s block and a thousand other phrases that could merely justify my lack of initiative.

I have even been talking about moving to my own domain. I don’t know why. From the looks of it, even the ownership of this space, with its sporadic posts, most of whose quality no longer impresses my sophisticated clientele of two, is a bit too off target. I either need newer ideas, which aren’t coming in, or newer clientele, that aren’t thronging either! Then again, I have the cash, and everybody with any internet knowledge and cash are buying their own domains. So Im just going to get mine and justify the venture to myself with the claim that it would at least suffice as an address when I get into doing what I eventually should be doing- making more money.

Anyway, this post is not even about any of that. This is a post that I have been wanting to write, perhaps even before the launch of my first blog ever (I have subsequently had three before this one, all killed due to illness, disease, old age and bad frequency).

No, its not the average run-off-the-mill How-To post. I can pretty much throw a guarantee that an honest following of the directions below would find you in truest of true love. If you don’t I’ll give you back every penny you paid for this advice right here.

Quite obviously, those in true love would never even think of commoditizing their apparent pot of gold, while those outside would ideally not be advice-worthy. Therefore the great responsibility comes down to me, the knowledgeable, wise and good. And since the knowledgeable, wise and good are currently working on Open-Source G-Phones, its my word against yours. And the comments are moderated.

For starters, let’s begin with a basic defenition I would be using in a greater part of this post, and any follow ups if my end button starts working again (got pulled out during a game a couple of weeks back and though I don’t really much ever used the key, the difference is kind of distracting). The concept of singularity and duality. 

Any sixth grader would know that these glorious words take roots in advanced particle physics. Science, maths, philosophy, Swamy and a bunch of other documented crap would go great depths to bring in the various absolute, relative, objective, subjective views of these concepts. And to give them theri fair credit, their contribution has been to the greater good of mankind- you and me. Actually, it hasn’t….

But well, the meaning should be pretty obvious. Singularity is a status of single-ness, a term used to define one’s inability to impress a girl, and further cover it up with excuses of quality, attitude and preference. Duality refers to the status of non-singularity, marked by the existence of a single person in two states- the boyfriend and the girlfriend.

The uncertainity theory clearly states that it is impossible to claim, with 100% confidence both the state and level of desperation of a person. That is, the surer we are about our percieved singularity or duality, the less certain we will be about our level of desperation. Therefore, the truly single or dual person tend to live in ignorance of their own despo status until external realization dawns in, muddling the clarity in their status.Further, extreme duality may be associated with a nagging sense of foreboding, and a total loss of individualism. The terms could further be extrapolated to single-dom, though a specific dual-dom does not exist.

The concept of existing in more than two states, wherein a single boyfriend can peacefully co-exist with more than one woman is laughably negligible since peacefully and co-exist are impossible assumptions in the subject matter of two girls. In similar light, since multiple boyfriends tied to a single girl break the very purpose of a girlfirend- to break any form of intra male communication channels, this again is not a case worth consideration.

Now that we got that cleared, this post is a guide to move from singularity to duality. I do not endorse the move, however. Nor do I oppose it. In fact I understand the pains of either side pretty simply put.

Let us analyze the case of singularity here. I go as much to put forth the hypothesis that singularity is often not a field of choice. If you are living a solo, pathetic life with no one to call to on those boring evenings, sitting around commenting on the hours your not-so-single friends spend on the phone, and getting unwarranted “How To”s from every tom, DICK and hairy, especially female dicks and hairy’s, I don’t really believe you are enjoying those glorious moments. I know you yearn to have a beautiful tamil-movie-love that brings joy to your existence. I know it sounds like a sad life. That’s probably because it is. And its not even worth a debate- I say so!

On the other side, if your life consists of hours listening intently to meaningless gibberish on the phone while your “free” friends are having a riot commenting around, bound by having to make those incessant phone calls every few hours and pretty much have a tied down life with neither time, nor patience, nor energy, nor the independence to do what you would logically assume to be greater pleasures of being a man, that couldn’t really be much fun either. Since logical people would not take this upon themselves, one would be motivated to claim that duality, therefore, is not a field of choice either. However, since we are talking about the romantics here, the assumption of logic in the previous line does break down.

The point being- love is a field of choice. It probably does happen miraculously when you bump into the perfect one across the library or when you thrash the bunch of assholes who were throwing sexist comments in her vicinity. There again, the assumption of “perfect one” is quite questionable. Moreover, I wouldn’t presume the average reader around here (direct and those who google for stuff like this”) to have ever walked around a library, let alone beat up meanies. In fact I could quite safely assume you’d be amongst the guys making those sexist comments.

No. I hate to break your heart. But “Love through Accident” is not for you. Don’t get disillusioned by taking the accident part too literal. You’d rather have an auto guy put you in that hospital and that humungous middle aged mallu nurse aunty at Best Hospitals sew those cuts than a hot babe that looks down and goes “achachooo”.

No my friend. The only way to break the single barrier is through strategizing. Through careful planning. Contigencies. Deep thought. More strategizing. Generous donations to my paypal.

The first step in your elaborate plan-de-plan (anything to do with plans, secrecy or love have to be French. Anything with a “de” in the middle becomes French!) is to define the viewpoint. I have observed successful relationships over the years, success defined merely by the ability to coexist in the same room with less than three attempts to murder in one hour. In general, the plan-de-plan takes one of two decisive game plans. The cockroach plan and the mosquito plan. While both have their obvious advantages, the use of either technique is completely an individual choice.

The planning phase, which pretty much consists of identifying the path to be taken and the initial prospecting, is fairly common. At the end of this phase however, the experienced player should be able to determine the mode of operation to get started with the conquest of love since each mode takes drastically different approaches to this issue.

The Cockroach Plan: A sumptuous dinner waiting on the table. Another cup for the coffee. And who must you find waiting on the sink’s edge?

The best, and possibly the most satisfying solution cockroaches is to strike them multiple times, between their second leg and the mean distance between the third and end-of-body point. Of course the trusty broom would do just as good- breaking their body into unidentifiable pieces and throwing them around for other roaches to eat, therefore pushing them towards a degeneration of their moral fibre, decadence and an eventual destruction of the roach civilization.

The cockroach plan takes a pretty similar view point. Strike with minimal resources, but strike fast and efficient before the victim (love-ee) has a chance to realize.

The Mosquito Plan: Ever so gently as you drift into the glorious semi-dream pre-sleep state, sinking back into the soft comforts of your bed, the covers thrown lazily over your torso, imagine that irritating whistle as the most elusive of beasts flies by.

Waking up and trying to kill that mosquito would not generally have the same effect. You could shoo-shoo them all night and still they would have gotten enough of your blood to donate to Hindu Mission Hospital. And the whistle would continue. The mosquito-way involves technology. Procurement. Your sleep is pretty much ruled out tonight, but tomorrow could be secured with the mats and coils and creams and sprays. The pleasures of watching those flying dingbats get drowsy and fall off as you drift into peaceful sleep, inhaling more monoxides than you would care is in itself worth last night’s bite.

An important note here is that the mosquito plan requires a more detailed plan than merely point-and-shoot. It requires the investment of time and capital. A slow diffusion of thought. However, the mosquito plan is generally more workable than the cockroach plan. Especially because there is a lesser chance of you coming out looking stupid if the plan bombs.

Now, now, don’t jump in yet. This is merely the tip of the iceberg of an elaborate thesis. Yes, my friend. You can fall in love too. Or at least hope to. May be not, but then, that’s just you.

 

P.S.: I hope to put up a follow through post. Sometime.

P.P.S.: I am also getting married to the girl I have been in love with for over nine years now. 

P.P.P.S.: No, Im not really, but that’ll teach you not to waste time around post scripts.

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