“A thesis is simply an argument – an idea. You make them up every day with every action you take. I hypothesize today would be a good day to write a lecture. It is the only communicating worth doing.”
— Prof. Bob Kalm
In Weight Watchers lingo, “finally” is the “F-word.” “Only” is a close second. Use them and your leader knows you’re judging your progress, weighing it down with negative implications.
“Only” is an absolute. It cries out for contradiction from a devil’s advocate. So here we go.
An argument … “is the only communicating worth doing,” Bob says. Really? But what about…
Attending a funeral?
Texting alone in the dark?
Perhaps my lover argues for skin on skin with every caress?
Perhaps watching a casket roll up the church aisle is a way of debating the meaning of existence: I’m alive watching death pass, or am I?
And maybe sending an electronic missive intrinsically involves the inner argument with self that leads to all writing?
If I argue for argument’s sake that arguing has value above all other forms of communication — the questioning and proving, the challenging and showing — then my devil’s advocate stance falls apart and I find myself agreeing with the premise.
Sure enough, Bob makes this point at the end of his essay.
“Your instincts are usually your comfort zone masquerading as knowledge,” he writes. “Question yourself.”
If only instinct could lead us out of the cave of easy impersonation. Like Dorothy pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. What do we really know and who are we, really? Questioning the question is one instinct that frees us.
Affirmation — a kiss, a glance across the aisle, a return text — is, I imagine Bob would say, a kind of happy argument, inquiry asked and compassionately answered.
I guess I lose this argument. But it was the only one worth making.