Friday, December 5, 2008


I had an interesting discussion in my Spanish class the other day. We had read an act of a play called, "Estudio en Blanco y Negro" (A Study in White and Black). The short version of this little act starts out with a man coming to a park with benches and a marble statue of a general on a horse. He yells out, "White!" Another man in the park hears him and yells, "Black!" This is the start of an argument between the two on whether it's black or white. They even started throwing punches!

Soon, a young couple enjoying some alone time in the park get corraled in to the discussion. The girlfriend, when asked, answered, "white." The boyfriend disagreed and said "Black." That started them off in an argument over who was right and who was wrong. They realized shortly into their argument that they were getting angry over nothing. The boyfriend points out, though, that if his girlfriend had just agreed with him, they wouldn't have argued. She in turn becomes upset at the notion and gets angrier. By then, the two men who started it all changed topics and conversed over where the other lived and so on and so forth. Sooner or later, all four were back to yelling at each other. The scene ends as a third man enters the park and yells, "Yellow" multiple times.

I came away from this drama some what perplexed. To what were they referring as black or white? Why were they getting so overworked about it? Was the issue over whether the unidentified object was black, white or yellow, or was there something deeper? As a class, we addressed some of these questions and through the discussion, I became aware of my idiosyncracies in arguing. My teacher asked what was the stupidest thing we had ever argued and with whom. It took me awhile to think of anything. I thought of some of my arguments with Melody Anderson, a good friend of mine, and with my mother, but the subject matter eluded me.

I realized that it was safe to say that most of my arguments were stupid. Not that I'm stupid, but I choose my battles poorly. My dad has quite a philosophy on this. He has told me on numerous occasions, "You can win the battle, but lose the war." Also, he has cautioned me about whether or not that was the hill I wanted to die on.

I guess the bottom line is: I want to be right. I don't care if it's over whether hot pizza tastes better than cold pizza or if my mother sounded critical or not. But I have to ask myself: is it worth it to be right? In my pursuit of rightness, what do I lose? Many a times, my dad has told me that people don't care what you know unless they know that you care. So it really doesn't matter whether or not I'm right and the other person is wrong. Okay, now that that's understood, can I actually follow through with it?

Here's a funny Monty Python video about arguing and some other stuff: