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Aporia is an ancient Greek concept of realizing that our interpretations and beliefs don't lead us to the truth.

Winning an argument isn't the goal, and true wisdom is to have big, deep conversations that help us grow and connect.



Disagreement Is The New Reality

The ability to have productive disagreements is a superpower.

But disagreement or an argument usually has toxicity associated with it, with judgment, self-protection and a sense of conflict.

In a disagreement, often certain crucial information isn't available or isn't clearly understood by either person. We need to ask ourselves if:

  • The argument is about something that can be verified.
  • If it matters to you (meaningful).
  • If it is useful.
Then we need to make sure that the other person aligns and comes on the same page.

    Anxiety spikes happen when something triggers us during an argument, usually when what that we care about feels threatened.

    We need to be aware of these spikes to guide us into the emotional aspect of the argument, rather than only focusing on information.

    A common mistake during arguments is when we speak on behalf of other people and groups.
    Arguments then become a free-for-all, as anyone can jump in and argue back. Also, we tend to exaggerate, oversimplify and stereotype when we speak outside of our own experience, making our position in the disagreement vulnerable.

    Neglecting the emotional part of the argument and focusing solely on facts and information is a common blunder.

    A better way is to ask open-ended questions and try to find the root cause of the argument. For example, one could ask: “This clearly matters to you, can you help me understand why?”

    Keeping an open mind gives you a wider field of view.

    Turn off the clinical brain that just wants knowable answers quickly, and see the world through the other's perspective, noticing things you may have blocked or overlooked.

    Biases are your ready-made encyclopedia of all the answers you need to prove yourself right, which can be a disaster in any argument.

    Hold off your biases and try to find growth and new perspectives that come out of a productive disagreement. Take the conversation as a learning opportunity.

    Disagreements cannot be resolved over Slack or Email. Try to do them in person, or at least over the phone.

    Make sure your environment is neutral, and if anything can hamper the discussion, change the venue.

    Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.



    There are three different realms of an argument:

    • Head-based arguments are about the truth, based on facts and verifiable information.
    • Heart-based arguments are about meaning, personal taste and moral values.
    • Hand-based arguments are about usefulness and practicality.

    Being able to distinguish between the three realms, and categorizing your argument stand can help you find common ground and end the argument in a productive way.



    It is frustrating when you're arguing with someone, and you feel like they don't listen. But you really only have control over what you do. You can't make someone listen to you, but you can listen to them.

    Instead of accusing the other person of not listening, say "I'm listening," followed by repeating what they just said. Once they feel heard, they'll feel respected. When they feel respected, they're more likely to return the favour.

    Paul Graham's disagreement hierarchy
    • DH0. Name-calling: the lowest level of argument.
    • DH1. Ad hominem: attackung the person rather than the point they are making.
    • DH2. Responding to tone: The lowest form of responding to writing is disagreeing with the author’s tone. 
    • DH3. Contradiction: you offer an opposing case but very little evidence.
    • DH4. Counterargument: a contradiction with evidence and reasoning.
    • DH5. Refutation:  quote someone back to themselves and pick a hole in that quote to expose a flaw.
    • DH6. Refuting the central point: The most powerful form of disagreement.