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Current Objective Question
(See also the Subjective Question)

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In the Song of Myself, Whitman writes in verse 51:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself,
(I am large and contain multitudes.)
The current objective question focuses on the role of contradictions within our personalities. Specifically, do you feel that possessing and wholeheartedly believing in contradictory beliefs is detrimental to one's mental well being? Can having internal contradictions represent a possible fault (as science, philosophy, the justice system and society seems to enforce)? Do you even believe that wholehearted contradictions are possible within a person?

If you believe that contradictions are not detrimental, then are they advantageous? Why is it that society as a whole tends to stress the opposite?

If you believe contradictions truly are detrimental, then do they represent character flaws? How does one find them and how does one get rid of them?

Regardless, are you afraid of internal contradictions within yourself? Finally, I'd love to hear any additional interpretations on what you think Whitman was striving at when he wrote parenthetically "(I am large and contain multitudes)".

By the words "possessing internal contradictions", I intend more than simply being able to see and understand both sides of an issue, but rather truly, symmetrically believing in one side and believing that the other side is wrong, truly believing you are both wrong and correct in a polar, partisan manner simultaneously. Perhaps I am overstating Whitman's intentions by this assumption. If you think so, please feel free to tell me!

My commentary:
I decided to ask this question to start the Question Network to re-examine the basic Socratic mode of discussion that has been culturally bred into us with the weight of all of western civilization. Too many deep conversations in our lives focus around convincing other people of our own beliefs. Exposing contradictions in your audience's beliefs is the most powerful and typical tool used to undermine their existing beliefs. That is, finding a contradiction in another's beliefs means a success, a win, a conquer and defeat in today's conversations.

I am trying to decide whether searching for contradictions in our intellectual discourses may be a red herring -- not really the success/win it is so championed to be by our cultural upbringing. Perhaps we should instead focus on coming up with the questions (i.e. QuestNet!), rather than convincing others of a certain belief. ;-)


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