Life features times of waste and efficiency, periods of futility and gain, and pointless talks and fruitful walks.
In a worldview of efficiency and effectiveness we always want to make our actions count and none of us, presuming we are forward-thinking persons, likes to be involved in the pointless. But many of our discussions are exactly that: pointless. Many discussions, verging on debate, feature protagonists in confused and ignorant disagreement with one another. Many of these discussions end in futility, or they simply don’t end. These arguments don’t defuse anger, they extend and bloat it.
On the other hand, there is another vehicle for communication: the fruitful walk.
Features of the Fruitful Walk
Whenever we have a confounding conflict to deal with we are best off getting outside, weather and time permitting, and having a stroll with the person we need to interact with. There is something mysteriously disarming in walking and talking. Side by side, and in the mode of moving and negotiating the step-by-step hazards, there is less pretence and less self-consciousness. We communicate more naturally.
The walk is fruitful because we have the pluck to ask and to answer tough questions.
In walking we have already begun a collaborative arrangement. By walking with somebody we have to make effort to achieve eye contact—to make our point, and to listen to theirs. And provided we continue walking, and don’t stop to argue the toss, the discussion continues to progress in whatever direction it progresses in. The resolution point of most arguments is an arrival at a place both would not have suspected.
If the walk was to simply be a talk it might prove fruitless, pointless.
The Futility in Many Discussions and Arguments
There wouldn’t be many more soul-disturbing activities than spending hours in argument over issues that are unlikely to be sorted. Yet, many groups of individuals end up in such a place. There is a warring couple, the boss and his worker, the sibling arguments, just to name a few.
It’s almost as if we need to learn the rules of engagement before we engage.
Being that there is no point in arguing unless there is a chance of resolution, we would be wise to spend our time agreeing the rules to begin with. It defies logic to continue to proudly press our claims in ignorance of the other person’s claims.
But with some of the common ground understood, especially regarding how we will debate, we have some chance of success. And in a position of negotiating rules sometimes we begin to work with each other in a negotiating arrangement. We need to be able to negotiate if we are going to navigate through to a resolution.
Many arguments waste our time, energy and emotions. We are better served when we agree on rules of engagement beforehand. Walking and talking is a more fruitful process than tennis-match talks that, after hours at times, arrive nowhere. Higher peaks of anger are result. Conflicts only have potential when there is a reasonable chance of resolution. The point of an argument is to resolve the disagreement. Why would we argue otherwise?
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.