Not only is debate useless for getting at the nature of reality, but it isn’t always good for you, or for communities where debate is fetishized. As I was looking for my previous words on debate, I came across this, originally published here. It seemed like a good time to repost it. “PTDD” is not intended to be remotely taken as a serious mental illness. It shares the element of hyper-vigilance with PTSD, and that’s about it. This is about what consistent debate trains you to do.
You may have Post-Traumatic Debate Disorder if:
- Nobody really disagrees with you.
- People who claim they disagree with you are being dishonest.
- People who claim they disagree with you are out to get you.
- You argue that someone (else) getting mobbed online “deserved it.”
- You find yourself not understanding a lot of things but don’t ask any questions.
- You consider accounting for differing situations to be hypocrisy.
- You don’t know what your goal is in an argument, but that doesn’t stop you.
- You view all discussions that consist of more than, “Yeah, me too,” as arguments.
- All disagreements have a right and a wrong.
- All disagreements must have a winner and loser.
- Wrong = evil, unforgivable, delusional.
- You alone understand what everyone “intends” by what they say. Better than the speaker.
- You consider sympathy for both sides in a disagreement to be the same thing as no sympathy for either.
- You crave real-world consequences for things said online, but not for you.
These are but a small sampling of the symptoms of PTDD. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you log off the internet immediately. Further treatment may consist of quarantine to avoid denialists of all stripes, lots of face-to-face and eye-to-eye conversation, and outdoor exercise.