Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fracking Fracking

Maybe I shouldn’t write about fracking because I know nothing about it. But I’m fascinated how with this and a myriad of other subjects, people take sides. And they often think that those who take a different position are stupid and evil.

Like the other subjects, there are costs and benefits to fracking. The costs are the danger to the environment and the benefit is the cheap oil. Joe might see the environment as the most important value, or Mary might see getting oil or gas for cheap as the most important value.

Saying “I support fracking” at a gathering might get you hugged or stoned. The subtext might be a statement about your values. Is it independence from the Arab nations? Is it cheap oil? Is it the preservation of the water table?

We feel anger or love, depending on how our preferences align with one another. We’ve made a decision and, despite our limited information, attach that decision to who we are. I’m a fracker, or I’m an anti-fracker. And if you aren’t as I am, then I’ll befriend you.

I heard about a tribe of Indians. When there was a disagreement, the elders would sit around a table with a pumpkin in the middle. They’d all work to understand the problem they were facing, represented by the pumpkin. They wouldn’t try to convince others of their point of view. They’d work together to understand all sides of the issue.

Socrates disliked the Sophists because they practiced debating to win rather than as a means to find the truth. It seems when we are convinced about something, we forget the other side. We become irrational in that we insist that the pumpkin is only what we see from one vantage point.

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