Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Debate and lessons from it

This morning we had the annual debate on the theme 'Technology and Religion are complementary'. It was a good exercise for the Brothers. Fr Wilson made an all out effort to ensure that the talks were prepared, practiced and delivered well. Really, he spared no effort! The Brothers too made a valiant effort, but as always got entangled in trivials than in the deeper issues at hand. Fr Puthussery, the moderator, too made a great effort at drawing their attention to the real issues... but with not much success.

However, a couple of lessons I learnt from today's experience:
  • The theme of the debate has to be a very precise and straight statement. Not a complex idea or comparative topic.
  • The talks need to be according to specific fields. This is important when the successive speakers are not very talented or capable of commenting or lashing out at the previous opponent prior to their own presentation. Moreover, this would help focus the area under consideration rather than let each one wander about wild.
  • The meaning and definition of terms being used need to be specified and clarified at the earliest.
  • The talks need to be sub-divided into the following pattern: Statement of the argument (in line with your stand), a brief explanation of the same and finally, if necessary make the point clear with an example. Bereft of this there will be many things said - many good things - but not very specific or arousing discussion.
  • The statement/argument of the opponent is to be attacked... not the person, or least of all the example!! (Our Brothers are masters of catching the wing-tip of the fly, sitting on the tip of the hair, of the tail of the bull... and certainly not the horns!).
  • The questions during the floor discussion should be very tricky and sharp. The opponent should be put in a fix: an 'yes' or a 'no' would either way land them in trouble. That's the sort of questions one has to equip oneself with.

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