What is convincing to you?

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DGA
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What is convincing to you?

Post by DGA » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:59 am

There have been some occasions when I've read a thread or some posts at DW or another forum, and changed my mind about something significant. Similarly, if I haven't changed my mind, I've been forced to consider alternative perspectives that I wouldn't have done otherwise.

These are posts that are usually well-reasoned and backed by some kind of evidence, such as a textual citation. This is what tends to convince me.

But reading the posts of others, I get the sense that other modes of discourse must seem more convincing that appeals to reason and evidence, because those members choose to rely on, say, appeal to tradition, appeal to authority, or just good old fashioned foot-stomping and pearl-clutching, and when that fails, name calling and ad homs. These posts are mostly boring and usually convince me of nothing. If anything, they convince me that their authors are full of it.

What convinces you? What would it take to change your mind about something that is significant?

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SunWuKong
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:46 am

Firstly , we only have written words, and track records of whatever good and bad advice we have given in the past, that our comments can be judged by. If a person writes convincingly, it could be because they know, or it could simply be because they think they know. So that's early on in a convo some of the indicators. I've given the go-ahead signal to some very far-out things before simply because they somehow work. if something helps me, i lend it creedence. In a sense, i'm limited by the set of problems I am facing and therefore don't process everything i read. i can weigh objectively things where i'm in the process of dealing with things, but outside of that frame, i'm not so good at it. For example Tibetan terms? My eyes just glaze over. Mostly, if something helps, it helps, if it does not, i try to keep it in mind if i ever need it, but you know how it goes
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

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Wayfarer
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:36 pm

I’m generally convinced by having no option but to believe ‘x’. What I mean is, having considered all the options, then I have decided on ‘x’ because I can’t see any alternative. I am reminded of a saying by Heraclitus - ‘the beasts are driven to the pasture by blows’.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Losal Samten
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Losal Samten » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:57 pm

Repeated exposure to logically sound arguments on the topic.

For the most part, I don't think people actually change their minds very much, more like just confirmation bias shifting tracks.

I can't even recall the last time I had a complete change of heart.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Vasana
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Vasana » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:32 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:57 pm
Repeated exposure to logically sound arguments on the topic.

For the most part, I don't think people actually change their minds very much, more like just confirmation bias shifting tracks.

I can't even recall the last time I had a complete change of heart.
I think you're right. I think we see bias at play most clearly in the political sphere- the well reasoned rational propositions by the progressive left rarely have as much mass appeal as the emotively charged framing from the right as an example. Emotion often drives people to mobilise on an issue faster than well thought out arguments. No surprise to see if this applies to traditions where debate or critical thinking isn't emphasized as much as faith or instincts.

http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/deci ... ion-making
Think of a situation where you had bulletproof facts, reason, and logic on your side, and believed there was absolutely no way the other person could say no to your perfectly constructed argument and proposal. To do so would be impossible, you figured, because there was no other logical solution or answer.

And then the other person dug in his heels and refused to budge. He wasn’t swayed by your logic. Were you flabbergasted?

This is similar to what many negotiators do when they sit down at the table to hammer out a deal. They come armed with facts, and they attempt to use logic to sway the other party. They figure that by piling on the data and using reason to explain their side of the situation, they can construct a solution that is simply irrefutable—and get the other party to say yes.

They’re doomed to fail, however, because decision-making isn’t logical, it’s emotional, according to the latest findings in neuroscience.

A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides—shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.

So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion.

This finding has enormous implications for negotiation professionals. People who believe they can build a case for their side using reason are doomed to be poor negotiators, because they don’t understand the real factors that are driving the other party to come to a decision. Those who base their negotiation strategy on logic end up relying on assumptions, guesses, and opinions. If my side of the argument is logical, they figure, then the other side can’t argue with it and is bound to come around to my way of thinking. The problem is, you can’t assume that the other party will see things your way.

What the negotiator can and must do, however, is create a vision for the other side to bring about discovery and decision on their part. In the end, your opponent will make the decision because he wants to. Getting him to want to, using the step-by-step methodology that is part of the Camp System, is the job of the negotiator—not trying to convince him with reason. [...]
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

Motova
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Motova » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:44 pm

Repeatable and undeniable first hand experience usually does the trick. I can also extrapolate conclusions from those if they're based off of solid logic.
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The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

DGA
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by DGA » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:55 pm

Watching other people suffer is also convincing, with regard to behavioral issues. Especially if those people are close to you. Self-destructive (afflictive) conduct and its consequences are not so easy to witness.

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Simon E. » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:21 pm

Logical argument has little purchase with me. Textual references almost none.
Because most western educated people I know live their actual meat world lives with no reference to logic beyond lip service and as an ideal, and they may know sutra and verse but that often tends to fall away when confronted by real situations in real life.
What is convincing to me is ;
1) Building a picture of a poster over time and seeing how often they are consistent to themselves and their own values..and
2) Having seen that they are consistent, finding out about their teachers and lineage.

Book larnin' and logic don't impress me much.
So much of Dharmic life has only a tentative relationship to left brain processes.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Malcolm
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:52 pm

When I started out studying Buddhadharma many years ago, lacking any experience, I relied on śabdaprāmaṇā primarily, valid knowledge based on scripture. As I learned more, I increasingly began to rely more on anumāna, inference. These days, I primarily rely on pratyakṣa, direct perception.

When one relies on direct perception, there is no need for inference, what need to mention scripture? Valid knowledge derived from scripture is the weakest, it must be supported with inference (i.e. reasoning, with is inference for others). Reasoning is stronger than scripture but weaker than direct perception.

Any true expression of Buddhadharma wants to move people in the direction of direct perception. Over reliance on scripture without accompanying reasoning causes unsound Buddhist dogmatism.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by florin » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:28 pm

DGA wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:59 am
These are posts that are usually well-reasoned and backed by some kind of evidence, such as a textual citation. This is what tends to convince me.

There are lots of people who are parroting what they've heard from their teachers, read in some book while providing textual references to support those ideas.These people appear to have knowledge while projecting an image of omniscience. What is more important is that behind that projection they have qualities and wisdom. I see no such evidence of such things anywhere .Lots of people who appear knowledgeable use their knowledge only to destroy others points of view while being really unpleasant in the process. Unfortunately lots of less dharma-educated people fall for these image tricks. No matter who you are in life, how many things you have achieved and the quality of your public profile, if you don't have qualities like, understanding, patience, clarity, compassion, wisdom, etc.. that arose as a result of your efforts in the realm of dharma i am afraid to say that you cannot convince me of anything you say, no matter how grandiose your dharma presentation is and no matter of how many textual evidences you are providing.

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by DGA » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:34 pm

florin wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:28 pm
DGA wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:59 am
These are posts that are usually well-reasoned and backed by some kind of evidence, such as a textual citation. This is what tends to convince me.

There are lots of people who are parroting what they've heard from their teachers, read in some book while providing textual references to support those ideas.These people appear to have knowledge while projecting an image of omniscience. What is more important is that behind that projection they have qualities and wisdom. I see no such evidence of such things anywhere .Lots of people who appear knowledgeable use their knowledge only to destroy others points of view while being really unpleasant in the process. Unfortunately lots of less dharma-educated people fall for these image tricks. No matter who you are in life, how many things you have achieved and the quality of your public profile, if you don't have qualities like, understanding, patience, clarity, compassion, wisdom, etc.. that arose as a result of your efforts in the realm of dharma i am afraid to say that you cannot convince me of anything you say, no matter how grandiose your dharma presentation is and no matter of how many textual evidences you are providing.
How do you know, only from the content of someone's posts online, what that person's qualities are?

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by florin » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:46 pm

DGA wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:34 pm
florin wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:28 pm
DGA wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:59 am
These are posts that are usually well-reasoned and backed by some kind of evidence, such as a textual citation. This is what tends to convince me.

There are lots of people who are parroting what they've heard from their teachers, read in some book while providing textual references to support those ideas.These people appear to have knowledge while projecting an image of omniscience. What is more important is that behind that projection they have qualities and wisdom. I see no such evidence of such things anywhere .Lots of people who appear knowledgeable use their knowledge only to destroy others points of view while being really unpleasant in the process. Unfortunately lots of less dharma-educated people fall for these image tricks. No matter who you are in life, how many things you have achieved and the quality of your public profile, if you don't have qualities like, understanding, patience, clarity, compassion, wisdom, etc.. that arose as a result of your efforts in the realm of dharma i am afraid to say that you cannot convince me of anything you say, no matter how grandiose your dharma presentation is and no matter of how many textual evidences you are providing.
How do you know, only from the content of someone's posts online, what that person's qualities are?
Most of the time I dont. And because of that, and beyond a civil interaction, i wouldn't put much weight on what they are trying to convey and the depth of their projected dharma knowledge.
However if you lurk around long enough you get to know to an extent from how people interact with others and how they use what they know, whether there is fruit from their efforts.

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Ayu
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Ayu » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:32 am

I guess, since aggressiveness never manages to convince me it must be friendliness that is really able to stop my truck and make me ponder.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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dzogchungpa
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by dzogchungpa » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:40 am

When someone regularly acts like a belligerent dumbass on DW, I often become convinced that he or she is in fact a belligerent dumbass. Beyond that, I don't recall being convinced of anything by anything I have read on DW.
Everything is divided
Nothing is complete
Everything looks impressive
Do not be deceived - David Byrne

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KeithA
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by KeithA » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:29 am

The only thing that convinces me of anything is that which is revealed by practice and interaction with Sangha and teacher. Scrolling through a few pages of dueling Sutra citations convinces me of the futility of that exercise. I enjoy poking around on the the various fora, but for me personally, it isn't of much value, practice-wise.

_/|\_

Simon E.
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:48 am

:good:
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

steveb1
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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by steveb1 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:26 pm

Not trying to be flippant, but what most convinces me is personal experience. I might give my intellectual allegiance to any number of attractive conceptions so long as they do not contradict reason, logic and common sense. But the beauty of spiritual aspiration is that some of these propositions can be taken not only as logic-tests, but also as tests of experience. As the Buddha said, his disciples were not to agree with his claims via faith-in or faith-about, but rather, to test them through living experiment and experience. Does "X" meditation duplicate the results that the Buddha indicated? Does "Y", as a deliberately-undertaken physical or moral act, have the effects of which the Master spoke? Etc.

On the principle that experience trumps speculation and faith-in/faith about, it seems that we are indeed fortunate that Buddhism and other spiritual expressions not only permit but encourage "the Way of experimentation". What a lovely thing when we witness a teaching dovetailing with spiritual, "hands-on" experience.

This is what I found in Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism. Its teaching about Amida and His gift of Shinjin unfolded unbidden in my deepest subjectivity. The teaching conformed to the experience. And I'm sure that this kind of event happens to practitioners in other Buddhist schools. To be intellectually convinced is one thing; to be experientially convinced is another. And it's always something of a marvel when the twain meet.

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by boda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:21 pm
So much of Dharmic life has only a tentative relationship to left brain processes.
:tongue:

Uh, were exactly does formal or even informal logic enter the picture?

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Re: What is convincing to you?

Post by DGA » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:08 am

What is no longer convincing to me? My own memory.

I clearly recall a discussion on DW regarding the use of the word "expedient" as a noun and not an adjective. Like this:

As an expedient to prevent harm in icy weather, I put condoms on my dog's paws.

or

I had a ball joint going bad on my rig, so I got some zip-ties on there as an expedient until I could get home and convince my wife to fix it for me

or

Making friends is hard work so I accumulate mammals as an expedient. Ferrets mostly

This is 100% OK and normal usage. Check the OED if you don't believe me. I'm convinced of this.

I'm also convinced that there was a discussion about this somewhere, in some thread that was interesting to me at some time in the recent past, but all the google-fu in the world can't bring it up, which convinces me that I can't trust my own memory anymore.

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