Shut up, we are debating!

Today everyone wants to communicate, to give their opinion without listening to that of their interlocutor, sometimes in a cacophony. It is a time of radicalisation and opposition. Prejudices are on the rise and debates, too time-consuming, are becoming rare.

It has never been so easy to be heard, but in some cases it is very difficult to be heard. Whether it's Islam, gay marriage, shale gas, unions, bosses, the media... there are opinions that are in good taste, and others that are immediately banned, censored, caricatured. There are unthinkable, unheard thoughts.

These are times of radicalisation and opposition, increasingly dogmatic. We respect the opinion of others... especially when they agree. Otherwise, at best he is wrong, more often than not he does it on purpose, "he lies", or he is incompetent, shows obscurantism when it is not revisionism, or quite simply is a propaganda agent, a manipulator of information, who instrumentalises opinion. To be accused of being a demagogue finally seems quite sweet today.

The bosses are necessarily rogue operators, the Islamists extremists (to say the least), or, better still, "presumed Islamists", the Catholics rigid reactionaries, the ecologists leftists, the trade unions communists who forbid themselves to agree, the bankers thieves, the politicians, etc. The list is long, I leave it to you to complete this catalogue of stereotypes and preconceived ideas... some of them not totally unfounded! (I'm joking, though...)

The time is ripe for caricature, bashing and rapid expression. Insults and denigration prevail over arguments and demonstrations. To see this, you only have to look at the comments on news sites on articles that are a bit divisive; they quickly turn into exchanges of insults, with the violence that seems to facilitate remote and often anonymous exchanges.

Discussions are concentrated, compressed, like the time we no longer have, that we no longer give ourselves, to go into depth, discuss, debate, really. To debate on issues that have become so complex and interconnected that summarising everything is reductive.

However, the opposite thought is a stimulant for arguments, reasoning and demonstrations. It encourages reasoning, sometimes intuition, to convince, and therefore to win support. This is the virtue of contradictory debate, which is more interesting than participatory dialogue where everyone is allowed to express themselves without anyone listening to each other or with predefined conclusions.

But this contradictory debate is a process that today encounters another limit, that of allowing oneself to agree with one's opponent, to change one's mind without losing face, to revise one's arguments or even one's convictions, to learn from the other. This is the paradox: everyone expresses themselves, seeks to make their point of view known, while not allowing themselves to change it. Everyone tries to speak and to emit more than they listen and receive.

We dialogue in silos, in communities of agreement, on information highways that are certainly one-way, crossing only on either side of the parapet of ignorance and disdain.

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