🙊 The Psychology of Arguing
And how to create viral Reddit posts.
The theme of this newsletter nugget is 🎈 arguments 🥳
But before we get into that, here’s the link dump for everyone who doesn’t care about arguments and is just here for the link-nuggets.
🔥 Hot off the press: My experience and breakdown on how I’ve been able to top subreddits and go viral on Reddit for years - it’s been pivotal in growing my audience on Medium especially.
🦠 Saw this insane comprehensive article about COVID-19 that went viral - worth a read to educate yourself about the pandemic.
✍ For the bloggers and SEO people: Found this chrome extension that blocks yourself from being tracked and messing with your metrics.
My Relationship With Arguments
I’ve been a type A, confrontational, stubborn, bastard for a long time. When you’re such a being, you tend to get into a lot of arguments, say a lot of things you don’t mean, and steamroll people that may not be adept in the art of ass-holery.
The silver lining to this, in my case, has been the self-awareness and reflection to see these bad qualities in myself and analyze them to the point of obsession - and low and behold, there’re some common themes.
2 in particular.
This principle is at the heart of the ‘blame game.'
Causal Reductionism: Outcomes usually don’t come about from 1 cause. A lot of the time, its dozens of causes that bring about a single outcome. Humans can’t process this complexity, so we bring it down to one reason, thus giving a false sense of causality.
And when that happens, we start to blame a failing relationship, economic policy, or problems in ideologies on a single cause. We explain it in simple terms and treat the explanation as a cause-effect relationship.
In reality, relationships, economies, and ideologies are very complex structures and have multiple levels of causal relationships with any outcome that might come about.
So the next time you’re going to argue ‘X is failing because of Y,’ make sure you have that little voice in the back of your head saying ‘there’s probably more to it.’
This fallacy is at the heart of ‘stubbornness’ or the inability to empathize with someone’s view.
Belief Bias: If the arguments support our favored conclusion, they are suddenly good arguments - regardless of whether they have merit or not. So we judge the strength of the argument based on how well they support our held beliefs.
We then find ourselves on the bad end of a logical argument that directly questions our views. Instead of pausing to think about the opposing argument on its merits, we succumb to saying “No, I’m right, and here’s why.” over and over again.
How do I deal with this? I ask myself, “If I was going to argue the other side’s point, how would I do it to the best of my ability?” And that ladies and gents, is called steel-manning.
You’ll manage to get a clearer picture when you do this, and once you’ve got it, that stubbornness will either be justified or put into question.
Arguments always have the capacity to get emotional, and we like to pretend we’re logical beings that act emotionally sometimes. Really, we’re emotional being that act logically sometimes 😅
Studying common mistakes, fallacies, and psychology helps with identifying our day to day responses to the world at large. This tweet-storm has some of the best concepts to look at. Reading this book is even better
I hope you got something out of this little email!
Like and share if you got some value 👍
Best of luck,