Daily GUIDE-ance:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

CS Lewis opens his book Mere Christianity by talking about how often you will hear people saying things like: "That’s my seat, I had to get up to go and do so and so" or "Let me have a bit of your orange- I gave you some of mine yesterday" or "You promised you were going to do such and such, go and do it".

He points out that if you pay attention to people talking for a bit you will notice how we all seem to be appealing to a common standard of behavior- an unwritten set of rules that everybody is assumed to understand and have in common. You will notice that when people disagree, they will usually say something like "well you ought to have announced before you left that you would want your chair back" or "things were quite different when you gave me your orange" or "I promised to do such and such only if this and that". In other words, they are in turn appealing back to the same set of shared, unwritten standards to argue their case. Lewis points out that you almost never hear someone say: "Well, to hell with your standards!"

That's mostly true- but I have found that it is an excellent way to win arguments.

16 comments:

timpani76 said...

I think CSL was implying that people all have a built in system of telling right from wrong. This being proof that we all have one creator, namely God who gave us all a conscience. Or possibly the spirit of Christ effects us all, even people who have never heard of him.

And--Chivalrous? Like opening doors for girls?

pie-seas79 said...

I love it!!! To hell with your standards then!!!! muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
I'm going to say it all the time now. An answer for everything, who knew?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

Well to hell with your standards as well.

The Marinator said...

LOL! Really, I think it "wins" arguments because no one expects to actually hear that, so they don't know how to respond. "It shuts people up" might be a better way of putting it.

Eyepoke said...

Well whatever. Its definately a fun way to win an arugement, espcially with Patrick.

"But... But John!!!! You cant do that! It's bad!!!!"

"I know!!mwahahahahahahahahahah!"

Bruce said...

john, you are a bad person. it has nothing to do with standards. you just suck. and i mean that in the nicest way.(i always found that to be an interesting way of insulting people)

Eyepoke said...

Well, at least, Moose, when I get to the rock bottom of scummy behavior, I can always think: "Well, at least I'm not ..." well actually, man... the list of people I am CLEARLY superior to just stretches on and on... I'm sure you know the feeling. Thanks for making count my inferiors like that!

timpani76 said...

Besides, you can't change the rules! That's the argument of deviants and child molesters. (that's my argument closer by the way, because who wants to be lumped in with the child molesters?)

Eyepoke said...

We should make a hymn about it:

"Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Are you a big loser and you suck nose hair?
Count your many inferiors, name them one by one
You may be suprized by how many people are dum"

Eyepoke said...

Oh Timpani, TO HELL WITH YOUR STANDARDS!

timpani76 said...

Deviant!!!

Eyepoke said...

On the flipside, Little miss serious pants, (i luuuurve you ;}), raises a valid point. The "to hell with your standards" argument has become more common, I think, since CS Lewis wrote Mere Christianity.

I recollect my college days, taking the Sexuality and Reproduction bio course. The class was mostly about gay people and folks who had sex change operations. The textbook was always HUGE on the importance of "not making value judgements"...

All the while ignoring the childishly obvious fact that saying its wrong to make "value judgements" is-duurr- a huge value judgement.

Bruce said...

i mean this in the nicest way john, you smell of elderberries

timpani76 said...

I hate it when people say "no judgments please!" Or "let go of your pre-conceived notions!"

That's like saying "forget that you are human and that you have a working brain! Forget that there might be any such thing as a collective human thing called a conscience! You are all hypocrites because you can't stop thinking that there is good and evil in this world!"

timpani76 said...

Oooh, John, I think you should add "little miss serious pants" to your insult of the day when that comes back. What a zinger! ;)

The Marinator said...

LOL! I'm sorry I missed most of this exchange. Now it's too late to chime in with anything extra-witty.