On debates

It’s become stunningly clear what a debate is about. A debate is not about “its contents”. It’s not even about debates itself. How each character got to the podium is a story of its own worth investigating. Watching the debate with on Zero Book’s channel with Matthew McManus and Stefan Molyneux made me realize that it is a performance more than anything else. I don’t mean it to say that it is about who’s got the bigger brain. Or even who’s got the stronger argument.

I for one am a millennial, and so I “started out” a leftist. Growing up from immigrant parents, they took me to church to learn “correct values.” I didn’t really care for politics. In fact, I hated politics. I would rather see the world by how people behaved and maintained success. For me outward manifestations of success are all the things I needed to work with. The successful people, or to put it more bluntly, the popular kids at school, all talked a lot.

Extraversion and competence

I attributed success to extroversion and being emotional all the time. Yes, emotion is a strength. Those capable of expressing emotions are honest and have more experience. I was reserved, shy and never really talked much. Because of that, I wanted to join sporting events, join the debate team, do something that will force me to talk to new people. Alas, I joined the soccer team while I was in highschool. I quickly found out what it was really about.

Somewhere, I saw that extraverted people were more likely to be better at sports because they had more confidence. More confidence made an individual more likely to succeed which made him more confident in return. I wanted to get in the feedback loop so I reversed engineered a plan. “Those people who complained were weak because they don’t have what it takes,” I said. This mentatlity would doom be. Because it was about strength, performance, and extroversion. Those things are true. And I came out on the other side depressed and frustrated. This would haunt me for many years. Not that I was a failure. But that I had that mentality that there was this one and only way to live life.

Confidence is overrated

Confidence is overrated. Overconfidence is underrated. When a not so confident individual goes out and tries something new. That’s not confidence, that’s overconfidence. By people trying to be confident all the time, they miss the mark. They confine themselves by what people think should be normative. Overconfident people by their very nature do not what to be normal.

This goes back to a debate being a performance. It is how the individual got to the situation where they got to be in a debate. I know a lot of people become to be great. But they got there because at some point, they felt that they didn’t have what it took to become recognized as a great individual. It might have been some awakening or an epiphany, but enough was enough. If success wasn’t going to happen, “I will make it happen.” That’s a great position to be in. Think outside your sphere. Do you want your problems to be solved by external measures? Meaning that you want to go out there and look for a solution? Or do you want to look for the solution from within the problem


I think everyone should at least understand Deleuze’s use of the “double bind.” It’s such a wonderful and practical tool even though it derives from a concept. This is what Deleuze want for concepts. put out there that concepts don’t exist.” He’s right. We must make them exists. But not in the kind where we react to the world. Forcing things to happen like I see in the entrepreneur space today is using already prepared tools at their disposal. What Deleuze wants us to use are tools that don’t really exist yet. That of the “double bind” is conceptual but very much material. It not only follows logic, but it makes thins simple. We have to give up the ideas that many thinkers and philosophers told us to set aside and not think about it.

I will go and say that being obscure and not known very much can have greater impact than if you were known all the time. Your insecurities are all you have. Once you get rid of them, you will have nothing. I you get to the position to ask yourself “how can I expose my insecurities to the world” then you already over complicated things. Ripple effects can reach remote places in the world, especially with today’s technology.

When I was watching the debate, I feared Matthew’s academic and scholarly presence was going to be is attack. I feared that he would have to debate with Stephan’s street and business savvy wit. That’s pretty much what I saw. I was reading a couple of articles about emotions interfering with decision making. I read about all the different categories about situations and I ready about anticipation. If you look at the comments on the YouTube videos, “Not a bad debate, I enjoyed the part where the guy I like said something I wanted to hear” or “The person who I agree with won this one.” They are great response with the fatigue of the philosophical tradition. It is about the way debates are shaped and arranged. Confidence doesn’t come with building yourself up by slowly becoming competent over and over again. All that gives you is competence. It is how you ended up where you are.

That’s my two cents.

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