Original Thought, Discussions, Rhetoric, Arguments, and Polemics

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 8th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Ideas for advancement of business or society are essential and need to be generated regularly. These concepts, however, also need to be tested by debate so we should value rhetoric, arguments and polemics because they can be used to strengthen ideas and thoughts we need them in order to encourage the possibility of change. This is where discussion, rhetoric, argument and even polemics can take an acorn of an idea and nurture it into a great oak.

Seeing the Future

One of the most powerful advantages that we have as a species is the ability to analyse things and once we have predicting how something can help in the future, we use this in order to build an idea, to create something new. This idea may be anything from a product, or a gadget, to an idea about changing something in the world we live in, perhaps even something affecting our whole way of life. The truth is we must have original thought, leading to new ideas and discussions in order to do anything new in society.

Not every original thought is worthwhile, most are killed almost as soon as they are thought of, many more are seen as unworthy as soon as they are described to someone else, yet none of this stops the genius of thought functioning inside the brain, we simply move from one idea to the next until we find something that is worthwhile pursuing. Without original thought there is no development and the sad fact is it is at that point our society starts to crumble. The sad truth is today some of us today seem to be afraid of original ideas, especially anything that challenges how we live in society today, the status quo. Truth is though no matter how many things you think are worthwhile there are perhaps an equal number that need fixing or changing and it is exactly that struggle that make human culture interesting and vibrant, it is not a case of sailing into the future with someone else at the helm, we need to be a part of the process of change, and we must develop our own vision.


The building of ideas is a vital part in generating change, but this is possible through many methods including discussion, rhetoric, arguments, and polemics. Before going further it is perhaps important to provide some definitions, which are listed here in order of forcefulness:

  • Discussion: 1) A conversation or debate about a topic. 2) A detailed treatment of a topic in speech or writing. Origin Latin.
  • Rhetoric: 1) The art of persuasive speaking or writing. 2) Language with persuasive or impressive effect, yet sometimes rhetoric lacks sincerity or meaning. Origin Greek.
  • Argument: 1) A heated exchange of diverging or opposite views. 2) A set of reasons given in support of something. Origin Latin.
  • Polemic: 1) A strong verbal or written attack. 2) the practice of engaging in controversial debate. Origin Greek.

These definitions all come from the Oxford Compact English Dictionary and are more than sufficient for the topic at hand, because there are reasons to use each of these modes of argument and you do not have to be a politician to start to make use of any of these types of tactics within your words, we should all find opportunity to do so as we build support for a specific idea that we may be passionate about.

Conversation or dabate?

We tend to prefer the concept of conversation rather than that of debate, we also like discussion in respect of the detailed treatment of a subject, the truth is there are many people who prefer to avoid debate, almost as if debating is seen as sinful, conversation is seen as natural because we will start the day in pleasant conversation with our partner, we go to work and hold pleasant conversations and would like that to continue, how many times have we sought not to "rock the boat", yet at some time the situation ACTUALLY needs us to tip the boat over and start again!

As a child I learnt that discussion was good, yet in business life there are times when people are told "This is the way it will happen and there will be no discussion" this forces many people to back away from discussion and debate in other avenues of life and when the status quo needs to be challenged then it is important to develop our persuasive speaking and writing skills along with the ability to provide a verbal or written attack, or engage in controversial debate.

With rhetoric we all know of the second meaning, the persuasive, but insincere, content, it is used to deride those that we disagree with, the intent of such a device being to make their view seem so small and petty minded. Yet the key aspect of rhetoric is about being persuasive in our speaking or writing. That is something that large sections of society need to become more adept at.

No person like to be seen as argumentative, they are generally seen as standing in the way of something that is necessary or good, they are painted in negative connotations, yet they are often only protecting that which they hold dear, to them the change is what is bad and that is why they can become so forceful in their arguments. Perhaps it is important to consider the opposite view as having much validity, even if you are doing so only in order to strengthen your own views or position.

The Role of Controversy

Remember that in many respects controversy drives change, yet this writer does not recall seeing a great polemic for a long time on any subject. Certainly newspapers and the media seem to avoid it as if controversy is bad, yet this does not have to be the case. The only time they polemicise is when they are attacking foreign regimes that we would all agree are evil. Even elections fail to debate controversial and life changing issues. Sometimes it is necessary to put a square peg in a round hole shaking up people's perceptions.

The key aspects for discussions, rhetoric, argument, and polemics is that you tackle the idea, not the person presenting it. You are engaging them in a way that is intended to either force them to change their view or to at least win the hearts and minds of many of the listeners or readers. Do we have the skills for such debates in society today? I have seen many heated debates, but most have a tendency to get very personal; attacking the messenger not the message and these should always be treated very distinctly. A person can be persuaded of the error (or incorrectness) of their idea, but not when you engage in personal attacks.

It is important to have more controversial debate in society, we need to leverage the tools of language to make that happen. Just because someone opposes your viewpoint does not mean they should be summarily dismissed as a fool, in fact they should in some respects be treated with reverence because they put your ideas to the test and indeed they may have something of great value to contribute. Indeed many ideas need to be modified in order to make them work properly and here is where a little controversy can test an idea.

Over to YOU!

Have something to say, then make your point with clarity!

To date Peter Giblett has published a wide variety articles on many subjects here on Wikinut plus others on a variety of other sites, these are the most recent articles published include:

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your wisdom, insight and knowledge, you could start by adding a comment, but perhaps you need something more in which case should join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.


Argument, Argumentative, Change, Debate, Discussion, Life, Original Thought, Persuasive, Persuasive Speaking, Persuasive Writing, Polemic, Rhetoric, Society, Status Quo, Thinking, You

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Apr 2014 (#)

fascinating read this Peter...thank you...

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author avatar Ptrikha
19th Apr 2014 (#)

I have seen two diverse ways in which these things are handled in modern society.

Either opposing views are totally stifled, or too much of opposition in a way that obstructs any positive decision making.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
20th Apr 2014 (#)

Interesting article.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
21st Apr 2014 (#)

There are not enough polemics these days, yet society requires them in order that we can change.

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author avatar Pace21
21st Apr 2014 (#)

As a society, we need to be more open to debate. Listening to each other is a complete loss in today's society.

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author avatar vandana7
8th May 2014 (#)

Just like one man's food (medicine) is poison for another, one solution may not be valid across the board, and the it or its outcome may not be valid even in the same business when situations change. Given that, deeper examination of the situation and assessing the consequences without depending upon past or other studies may be called for.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
8th May 2014 (#)

I still believe that controversial challenges have a tendency to drive change, even if it simply a case of re-evaluating what is right and wrong with a critical eye.

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author avatar vandana7
9th May 2014 (#)

Not denying that changes would come from controversial challenges. But what I am saying that each case may need different solution rather than offering standard solution which again requires fresh controversies to be modified.

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