On human relationships
Debate Rounds (5)
Despite society's constant parroting of the over-worn adage, "No man is an island" and "We are all social animals", the truth is that such phrases only serve to ensure that human society as a whole stays knit together; they promise a Holy Grail of transcendent understanding that awaits one at the end of a long and consuming liaison with members of our fellow species, one which has to fulfill all the criteria of "love" and "connection".
There is no transcendent understanding. Society has warped the notion of human bonding through the media, through books, through every possible medium it can possibly exploit, confusing us until we have a nebulous notion of what it means to be a member of the society which exploits us to maintain its overall structure.
Some things are good and we know it: the soft murmur of love from our mothers, the unconditional protection from our fathers, the laughter we share with friends after a day that has, once again, run us to the ground and left its marks etched across our spines.
But then there is war and pestilence, and nations that exhort their people to "conform to the greater good of society" and to "go out there and slaughter some Jews/Viets/Communists/Americans-in-the-World-Trade-Center". And suddenly, all the talk of peace and bonding seems to have turned on its head. Now, there is the slaughter of other civilizations simply because they are outside the protective sphere that is "our society" and our "sphere of human relationship". It is the twisting of our human need for identification and bond through a certain perverted patriotism.
Why do we identify so strongly with others of like ilk? For the ones with whom we bond with and belong, we will kill and fight anyone who comes from "the outside".
It is all an illusion, all a lie. Friendship is merely a mutated concept of the human bonds for survival. Histrionic emotions and a helpless longing for that obfuscated yet oh-so-appealing idea of synergy and oneness ultimately destroy us pilgrims searching for the Holy Rock of the Final Connection; that idealistic, foolish, abstract conceptualization that naive, neurotic armchair philosophers have fed to us. They have trapped us into a quandary: There are no friends without enemies, and as long as the idea of friendship exists, then the idea of the enemy will never disappear. A few we will take to our side; but there must always be the contrast of the black against the white, and if no convenient enemy presents himself, we will create our own.
Spread the word, and may there come the day when someone points us to a Muslim and says, "shoot", may we answer: "Why?"
And when the Muslim captain points to us and says, "shoot the heathen", may their soldiers, too, answer: "Why?"
Why indeed? Society is for the promotion of survival; why should we throw lives away for the abstractions that some abstract leader at the top of some abstract social ladder has decreed of some conceptual importance? Why do we allow ourselves to be twisted all across the breadth of our sacred psyche? The majority of us are fed a lie so that the minority on top may stand atop our backs and direct our efforts.
No more lies; no more cheap, mass-production of the words "love" and "friendship", "enemy" and "war". We fight the ones who should be fought, we love the ones who, together with us, promote our earthly conditions. We will not be pointed towards people decreed "others" and treated to the hunting horn; no more shall any collection of people upon this earth be taken in by the disease of nationalism. I want to know that it does not take an alien invasion, a convenient manifestation of our concept of "the enemy", for the peoples of this world to unite. I want to know that we can think critically for ourselves, and realize the absurdity of pitting nation on nation, bloc on bloc, neighbor on neighbor, while blind the whole time to the people who have spooned us treacle-sweet lies of "my friend, your friend". We have forgotten the ancient rule of the playground: If you are a bully, expect to be ostracized. If you are a friend, expect to be welcomed. But somewhere along the line, a smiling, loud, confident sociopath put his arms around our shoulders and created barriers where none had existed before. We allowed him to draw us away, seduced by his leadership. It was not long before we looked upon those playgrounders who were not with us and came to a slow realization: they were now "others", and nothing would ever be the same again.
We must understand the true meaning of the phrase, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted". It is not the idea that we go out and do whatever whim commands us to; on the contrary, the is the understanding that all things, personal desire and far-reaching society included, are but colors in the wind. It commands us to be wise, to see past illusions placed on our eyes by others, and to make our own choices.
1. Only exists to make sure human society stays in tact and knit together
2. War and pestilence annihilate the existence of sacred friendship
3. "Mutated concept of the human bonds for survival."
4. Friends cannot exist without enemies.
Pro has not made any substantial arguments in his case but has instead given me a long-winded and ranting chunk of text. I will now rebut the pro arguments to the best of my understanding.
1. Pro assumes that without friendship humans would not share a common bond or stay "knit together." It is clear that in all governments, societies, and economies that humans must work together and associate to some extent in order to provide for their country's needs. This is also evident in primitive and emotionally detached environments such as bee hives or ant hills. I conclude that society can stay knit together and share a common bond without friendship. By the cross-application of your 4, enemies cannot exist without friends so clearly you concede that there is such a thing as friendship but question the existence of a "sacred human" one. I define sacred according to the 6th definition on dictionary.com, "regarded with reverence." A question for pro: to our knowledge, are meaningful friendships and relationships formed outside of our species?
2. Pro admits that, "some things are good and we know it." He gives examples of the love of a mother, the protection that our fathers provide, and the joy that our friends bring us. He assumes that everyone receives love from their mother, everyone receives protection from their father, and everyone has friends that they share joy with. He also assumes that everyone enjoys each of these things respectively. Pro goes on to state that afterward, the only thing that's left is "a day that has run us to the ground and left its marks etched across our spines." These are not even arguments but attempts at philosophical insight. He seems to be arguing that nihilism outweighs the simple good in life but this is purely a personal perspective.
If you let nihilism outweigh happier things from your personal outlook then it will but it does not debunk the merit or existence of these simple goods. Within this argument my opponent insults patriotism and concludes that friendship leads to patriotism (common pride may be a more accurate label) which in turn leads to xenophobia. This is not even aimed towards friendship but towards nationalism and its result in national conflict. My opponent presents an awkward juxtaposition that nationalism and common pride relate directly to friendship and links them all to xenophobia. This is unwarranted and not accurate on a human to human level which the debate is about. It also does nothing to demolish the existence of sacred HUMAN friendship.
3. Friendship has nothing to do with survival. That is all in reproduction and necessities for life such as food and water. Humans could live like gorillas in the wild but we have some innate ability to chose not to that no other species has to our knowledge. Therefore, friendship has nothing to do with survival. Pro said that "as long as the idea of friendship exists, then the idea of the enemy will never disappear." Pro, is friendship just an idea or an actual bond that exists? You seem to be using the two concepts interchangeably. Also, friendship is not the cause of enemies. Pro is proposing the following logic.
1. Idea of friendship
3. Idea of enemies
4. Therefore, friendship causes conflict which in turn builds enemies.
His logic is nonsensical and vague. *Pro goes on to argue that there must be someone against the grain and if no such someone exists, we will create them.* Pro is assuming social norms v. social abnormalities but norms can be in place without friendship. I agree with the former outlook but it does nothing to debunk the existence of friendship; it is merely stating that friendship leads to enemies which doesn't make sense anyway.
4. I touched on this a bit in 3. His logic does not make sense on a human to human level. If you are to say the presence of friendship leads to the presence of enemies, an adequate comparison statement would be the presence of vinegar leads to the presence of honey.
I successfully rebutted all of pro's arguments and demand a con vote in return. Thanks for the debate and I wish you luck in the later rounds.
I will now proceed to dismantle con's arguments from the ground-up.
"4. an adequate comparison statement would be the presence of vinegar leads to the presence of honey."
I would've hoped that you had actually read my argument before making a culinary analogy to it. Had you read with the intent of understanding, con, you would've realized (I hope) that as long as short-sighted, arbitrary classifications of those in the "in" exist, it will invariably create a counter-sect, namely those who are in the "out". It is unavoidable. With an "in", there is always an "out". There is no "Life" without "Death", no "dark" without "light", no "love" without "hate". I am trying to push forth the understanding of the basic yin-yang contrasts of life that give it its meaning. I do not know how honey connects to vinegar in any way that pertains to this philosophy, unless there is some obscure cooking reference in there that I have missed.
"3. Friendship has nothing to do with survival."
Thank you for proving my point. You are right: Friendship, as the philosophers define it, has nothing to do with survival. It has mutated to the point that we expect "friends" to act certain ways before they fit with our preconceptions as to what friendship should look like. Is a friend the person we laugh with the most? The person who helps us in our time of need? What about the one who listens to our troubles? And that person who gave us money for food when we needed it most, yet had never shared "deep" and "meaningful" conversations with us before? There can be good people who dislike us and unscrupulous criminals who gravitate towards us. Is friendship, then, the people who pay us the scant amount of attention we crave? You can see how convoluted it can get.
Which is why there is not such thing as a "sacred friendship". People have differing views as to what constitutes a "friend", but the basic, underlying premise is that social bonding WAS extremely important for human survival. It is a given fact that societies have a higher survivability rate than individuals. I have nothing against social bonding; merely the naive concepts of different "society blocs".
Imagine the greater prosperity available to the world were people to cast off the societal dogma laid upon them like so much manure. "Xenophobia", the irrational fear and/or hatred of people from different sects, is the extreme manifestation of the naive, prejudiced preconceptions that pervade societies as a whole, which I shall collectively dub "manure".
What if there could be simple, human-to-human bonding untouched by nationalistic tendencies? There are phrases such as, "China is a burgeoning world power that poses a threat to U.S hegemony", which have such an irrational impact upon short-sighted, "proudly patriotic" people. With the thought that "China" might "threaten" us, we have anxiety attacks and prepare for fight-or-flight. America, our "in-group", after all, is "under threat".
How much better would it be if the newspapers could say, "Our slender, diligent, black-haired, black-eyed kin across the ocean have managed to produce enough surplus merchandise that they could provide for the entire world. As we are now having difficulties upholding our standard of living, perhaps we could send a diplomat over and negotiate for some aid?"
But it is BECAUSE of nations, BECAUSE we have arranged ourselves into insular, self-contained societies, that now everything else on the "outside" becomes simply that: on the outside, and thus, either to be exploited or eliminated. And we wonder why nations make war on each other? Only fools would ponder the question with the keyword staring at them right in the face.
"2. He seems to be arguing that nihilism outweighs the simple good in life but this is purely a personal perspective."
I see the word "nihilism" being bandied about a lot on the web these days; no doubt people steal the term from pseudo-intellectuals in an attempt to shore up their own lack of critical thinking. I'd advise a thorough reading of Friedrich Nietzsche's "The Will To Power" before you casually toss the term around, con. After you have finished, come back to this debate and please realize that "nihilism" does not have any grounding in my arguments. Predigested concepts from prominent thinkers that have been wrongly conceived of, and then misrepresented, only sway the less learned.
"1. This is also evident in primitive and emotionally detached environments such as bee hives or ant hills."
I would hope that you are not trying to speak for the bees and the ants. Had they a profile on this site I have no doubt that they will take issue against your ignorant assumption that they are primitive and emotionally detached. It is precisely this sort of thinking, that anyone outside our pre-drawn social circles does not deserve their own objective analysis, that I wish to dispel.
"1. A question for pro: to our knowledge, are meaningful friendships and relationships formed outside of our species?"
Again, you assume that our pets view their relationships towards us the same way we view them. Does our cat consider our liaison a "meaningful friendship" or "forced slavery to the one who holds all the Kibbles"? Do not attempt to speak for your cat or any other pet until you, too, have been put on a leash to be a companion for a human.
Your naive assumptions that the way you view the world is exactly the same as others view it is frighteningly similar to the mindset held by the American government during the Cold War. After all, "Communism" sounds like some unholy disease while "democracy" sounds like the angel of salvation for all mankind, no? It was for this fool notion that America allowed itself to be consumed by the "Red Scare", as well as two disastrous wars with no clear benefit or winner: the Korean War and the Vietnam War. For the sake of the absurd notion of "containing Communism", as if any form of government not similar to our own was a blight, America sent men to fight and kill Vietnamese and Koreans; all because they were not part of our bloc, our circle of society that thrived on democracy.
Mark Twain once said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
That is all I ask: that we do not cloud ourselves with preconceived notions of societal circles and caste before we have seen the world, unfettered by the phrases which society has brainwashed us to say so easily yet have little understanding of: "Friendship, Family, Love, Peace, and Understanding... except for those outside our circles."
Vote pro for the sake of rational thinking and the dispelling of dogma.
1. Vinegar/honey ordeal.
I now understand what you mean, pro. Thank you for clearing that up, dismiss that particular argument as I misunderstood.
2. Friendship and survival.
And thank you for agreeing with me then contradicting yourself. Pro states it is his point that friendship has nothing to do with survival but goes on to assert, "It is a given fact that societies have a higher survivability rate than individuals." You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Also, societies can exist without "friendship" as you define it. My example was ant hills and bee hives which you actually spoke about. I'll address it later within this argument.
3. Social dogma and nationalism.
What on earth are you going on about? Your resolve appears to be about sacred HUMAN friendships but you've done nothing but talk about dogma and nationalistic dangers. I approve of neither but your debate is about sacred human friendship, NOT nationalism and "manure." Seriously, you're pulling a total red herring. I define a friend as one who gives selflessly and friendship as two people who there for one another and give to each other selflessly. Your definition of friendship is basic and hackneyed. Obviously, the definition of a friend pertains directly to those and the friends they have in life which makes it a subjective term. I provided my definition as objectively as possible.
"People have differing views as to what constitutes a "friend", but the basic, underlying premise is that social bonding WAS extremely important for human survival." - Well, *was.* So everyone's premise for befriending others lies within survival? You state the opposite numerous times. It is up to people to judge the character and the friendliness of their associates before they truly consider them a friend and act accordingly. Mankind seeks out friends because it is instinct to validate one's existence. However, that doesn't make the friendships any less sacred or real.
"What if there could be simple, human-to-human bonding untouched by nationalistic tendencies?" - Notice that pro generalizes that there is no such thing as human-to-human bonding untouched by nationalistic tendencies. This is not true and holds no weight. Dismiss it entirely.
"I see the word...predigested concepts...only sway the less learned." - Total ad hominem and no refutation present. Pro is being incredibly condescending in hopes it will make his logic look better.
"I would hope that you are not trying to speak for the bees and the ants. Had they a profile on this site I have no doubt that they will take issue against your ignorant assumption that they are primitive and emotionally detached. It is precisely this sort of thinking, that anyone outside our pre-drawn social circles does not deserve their own objective analysis, that I wish to dispel." - It's not like bees and ants can speak for themselves, pro. They are primitive beings as being relatively simple in comparison to humans and emotionally detached because they do not have emotions . My argument stands.
"Again, you assume that our pets view their relationships towards us the same way we view them." - You did not understand my question. "Our species" would be the species of homo sapien which includes all nationalities, none of which I hope to discriminate against. It has nothing to do with cats or pets. Your resolve is specifically about the species homo sapien, as you stated *sacred HUMAN friendships.* You have not answered my question so I will wait for a response.
"Your naive assumptions...government during Cold War...thrived on democracy." - You aren't arguing about anything here. Communism doesn't sound like an unholy disease to me and democracy doesn't sound like any sort of salvation to me personally. Also, another ad hominem.
I conclude that pro has made no clear resolution or arguments present. Pro is simply ranting and performing multiple red herrings full of empty rhetoric and ad hominem. Vote con for sake of argumentation and logic.
I am not the one playing with ad hominem here.
I have only called your assumptions "naive", not "stupid" or "retarded". I have not called you naive or stupid or retarded at all, and have not made any personal attacks on you except those you have imagined for yourself.
You, on the other hand, have already called my opening statement "long-winded" and "ranting", deemed my logic "nonsensical" and "vague", and slandered me as being "condescending". You seem determined to deliberately misunderstand what I say and then promptly get offended by it.
You do not read with the intent of understanding and then finding a logical rebuttal, but rather dismiss anything I say that you do not like as being "empty rhetoric" and "red herrings". Stop treating me like a child in a debate room. You are sidestepping whole paragraphs I have written with oratorical jargon like "red herring" and "ad hominem". I am not trying to win over an audience, con, and thus I am not trying to toss around "red herrings" in order to confuse or mislead you or anyone. There is no prize at the end of this debate except the responses you can give me. If you will stop jumping down my throat and actually read what I say, then I am sure that your innate talent at debating will actually show. Instead, you come across as being overly anxious to point out whatever trivialities you can get your jaws on.
At step ALPHA, you will find that I've prepared something for you.
You were waiting for an answer to one of your questions. This was your question:
"1. A question for pro: to our knowledge, are meaningful friendships and relationships formed OUTSIDE of our species?"
Outside of our species, con. That is the question you asked.
I tried to answer as best as I could: I thought you must be referring to pets, for they are animals OUTSIDE OF OUR SPECIES with whom we share relationships.
You gave me a grammatically-faulty question and then got worked up when I gave you the correct answer to your question.
I think you were trying to ask, "Within the human species, despite nationalistic tendencies, do you believe that there are still meaningful liaisons between different peoples?"
I believe that they exist, despite nationalities, but only on a very small, personal level, because of factors like distance and the difficulty of communication between most nations. As such, these small connections cannot overcome the wider, more powerful abstract concept of "nations".
Imagine, con, that you have a pen friend in Japan, with whom you have been close friends with for many years. One day, the Japanese suddenly bombed Pearl Harbor and were declared enemies of the United States.
Imagine that this Japanese boy fits all the criteria of what it means to be a true friend of yours. However, the U.S has drafted you into the Marines and has assigned you to bomb the town your friend lives in. You are given an agonizing decision: which is real and important? The true closeness between you and your Japanese friend, or the larger, more abstract concept of the United States of America? Where do the social circles fade and begin?
THAT is what I have been driving at all along, and what you would've realized if you had read my debates and not dismissed them as red fish.
You would have seen it in my analogy of the playground, and the abstractness of what it means to belong to a certain group.
You would have seen it in my "Mark Twain" closing statement.
You would have seen it in my paragraph concerning "Nothing is true, everything is permitted".
You would have seen it after my parallel of the Muslim captain and the soldiers.
You would have seen it in my second paragraph concerning how "society has warped the notion of human bonding".
You would have seen all this, but you were determined to see me as trying to confuse you with "red herrings".
This leads us to Step ALPHA that I have prepared for you.
RESOLUTION: I believe that societies have warped our understanding of human bonding. There is no such thing as a "sacred friendship", because anything good and pure we try to make of our relationships always ends up being a pawn of nationalistic tendencies and naive classifications of social class and caste within and between nations.
INHERENCY: The way the world is structured now has cost us many wars against other people. One prime example would be the Great War or World War I:
Because of the idea of "alliances" (fancy word that, in essence, means "friends within specific circles"), nations declared war on other nations that they had no quarrel with, specifically because that nation had declared war on its ally. You can see the tangled webs they wove.
PROPOSAL: If we were to promote a general understanding that "nations", "social circles", "religious groups", and any other abstract notion of formalized (not personal) social bonding, only have as MUCH POWER OVER US AS WE GIVE THEM, then there will be no more tragic events such as 9/11 and the World Wars.
Instead of full-scale pitting of large groups of people against large groups of people, now there will only be the individual conflicts that result from an incongruence of personalities.
With Step ALPHA as your guide, con, I demand that you re-read my past posts and give me an honest answer. You will find that I have already expounded extensively on the theory of human relationships to the point of overflow.
For con: http://www.debate.org...
If it interests you, here is a debate that actually concerns nihilism.
Note how "Puck", the contender, does not dismiss his opponent as being nonsensical despite his opponent's obvious struggle with the weighty concept of nihilism, but rather chooses to debate honestly and give equal weight to his opponent's arguments; and then proceeds to dismantle them.
All within a good debate, pro. If you can call my assumptions "naive," I don't see why deeming your logic as nonsensical or considering your opening statement as long-winded or ranting is offensive. However, let's drop this. Neither of us will benefit from this battle of conduct; we'll let the voters decide.
2. The question
My phrasing of it was very misleading, I apologize. Regardless, your answer still gives me something new to chew on. You state that these connections between different nationalities exist solely on a small, personal level and cannot overcome the concept of nations. With that established, you'd agree with the following statement that when a nation is damaged in some shape or form by another nation, two people from the two nations respectively that share an otherwise sacred friendship will cast this aside in devotion to their nation. Correct?
3. Step ALPHA
Pro instigates that there is no sacred friendship simply because it always ends up being a pawn of nationalism or a social caste. How is it possible to prove this? The statement certainly isn't common knowledge nor is it provable so I can't see how pro could possibly defend this point. Yes, it's a given that there are instances that certainly follow pro's thesis but to say that there are no sacred friendships as a result is ridiculous.
Pro's proposal is to promote the general understanding that nations, social circles, religious groups, and any other formalized social bonding only have as much power over us as we give them. Even if this sentiment were to be pushed onto the general society, it doesn't mean that anyone will listen or stop letting these social circles have so much influence over them. I have already stated people naturally seek to validate their own existence through friends so it would make sense that would also try to do this with bigger groups and even nationalism. It is a brutal reality that there is nothing we can do about the evils of nationalism or organized religious groups.
Pro's inherency is that how the world is now has costs us many lives and caused wars. Conflict has been around almost as long as humans have so this is something that is clearly out of our control even with the pro proposal. Nations will form bonds with each other and will choose to discriminate against other nations; this is nothing short of inevitable even despite it's immorality. Pro, how is it possible to stop this? How is your proposal just going to get everyone to snap out of it? To say that it is possible to change this would be beyond wishful thinking.
Furthermore, this doesn't confirm your resolution. Societies certainly have warped the concept of human bonding but human to human friendship, sacred or otherwise, still continue to exist and will even despite pro's proposal. The people involved in these formalized social bondings are too blind to see the damage they do but individuals can recognize recognize it. However, they themselves can do nothing to stop it. I conclude my rebuttal, thank pro for his step alpha contribution, and urge a con vote.
Maestro forfeited this round.
I am afraid to say that I can marshal no more arguments in favor of the surreality of human relationships.
But my sincerest thanks goes out to con. Con, you have responded professionally and without heat, and have managed to touch me. I did not expect you to be persuasive; rather, I thought you would merely try to nail me down with trivial technicalities. I expected you to ask for endless definitions, debate with me about the "percentage value" of human friendships, or merely spew debate jargon at me without really addressing the issue. I expected you to prove my point precisely by being so enamored by the idea of "winning the debate" that you would ignore the relationship that you and I share: namely, that of intellectual rivals.
You have my thanks for a wholesome debate, and for reaffirming the bonds that exist between humans.
On human relationships: Merely because external factors play heavily on our predispositions does not mean that we as humans cannot make the choice to sustain that which is good and pure. "Nothing is true, everything is permitted"; it is a freeing statement, one that gives us the power to be wise and to choose that which matters. The same way human relationships can, at times, seem insubstantial due to outside pressures, so too can we make the choice to understand that the "outside pressures" only have as much power over us as we give them. Everything is, after all, merely "shadows and dust"; and we are permitted to make the decision as to what is truly important. Is it the outside pressure, or the human bond? The best part about all this is that no matter what we choose, we will have made a choice; and that choice helps us define the world we live in.
To be honest, I was playing devil's advocate to an extent. Like pro, I do believe that social bonding is somewhat distorted due to all the formalized examples of it. However, on a human to human level, there are all sorts of touching bonds out there and despite every account of horrible social bonds, there are touching ones that still remain. It is easy to become cynical in a world like this but there are a never ending supply of good and intelligent people because I find it hard to believe that only bad can exist. As pro himself stated, we cannot have dark without light, day without night, etc. I view the relationship the same for good and evil on a moral scale within humans.
I thank pro for the insightful topic and debate. Best of luck to you in life and in future debates if you so wish to partake.
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Vote Placed by MeganLoaskia 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by infam0us 7 years ago
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