On Discussing

Discussion is a testing ground for ideas. Through exchange with others, it'll become clear if the ideas hold up.
Developing ideas without exchange with the world impedes the search for truth. It is the duty of the Vordenker1 to put his ideas up for discussion frequently and openly. Dogmatisms recoil when facing discussion. Extremists recoil when facing discussion.
I am writing this text because I've observed that discussion is too often avoided, seemingly out of fear. One can assume it is fear of change and of an identity crisis, stemming from the mental rigidity found in many people. Meaning: the more I solidify my identity and avoid changes, the more I will avoid discussion.
Another fear of discussion comes from dreading the loss of power. When powerful people - be they politicians, Vordenker, teachers, trainers or mothers - have their ideas discussed by other people of similar, lesser or higher standing, the powerful people risk their power. They risk seeing their ideas exposed as false, not quite true or needing adjustment, and thus losing their authority. Even if they succeed in reacting quickly as to adjust their ideas to new input, the memory of their errors will linger for some time. If they're lucky, this memory fades quickly. The positive side of discussion, the strengthening of ideas by putting them to the test, seems less prominent when accompanied by the risk of loss. People don't like to lose. But regardless of whether the idea emerges from the discussion strengthened or weakened, the discussion will produce insights into the idea.
The fear of losing power thus stands in the way of truth. Not only the abstract possibility of losing power, but also the more concrete possibility of losing money, often lead to discussion being avoided.
I call this the "economic distortion". It is the case of truth becoming distorted by financial incentives. This is unfortunately too often the case. In my observation truth often goes missing in the chaotic jumble of economic distortions and fear of losing power. My observation mainly stems from the field of practice that I've explored in depth for a long time: human movement and the training of human movement. Unfortunately, truth and open discussion has not gotten very far in this field. While the traditional field of fitness training suffers from extreme economic distortion, both the newer and the more artistic fields of human movement training are also heavily affected by the fear of losing power. Actually, most of the Vordenker in this field barely talk to each other: everyone cooks his own soup. The possibility of truth being acquired is hence very limited in this field. The field of human movement training is on the one hand based on the search for truth, but on the other hand struggles with an unwillingness to use truth seeking methods. Thus, we are confronted with the following issues:

These problems are made worse by the fact that teachers and Vordenker to an extent actively prevent the search for truth through their ideologies.
I am referring to the field of human movement training, but these problems can surely be found in other fields as well.

My suggestion is to face the fears that come with an open culture of discussion, including:

and regard truth as more important than these fears.
"I won't discuss that" is not an acceptable point of view and reveals weakness of character.
Discussion must be protected and kept alive. Let's discuss!

  1. 1: See my video-lecture „Vordenkleistung” on Youtube. The word means „thought leader” ↩︎

Joseph Bartz
Translation: Oskar Henke