Is There a Gene for Argumentation?

Can it be that the human race in general and certain persons in particular, have a strong need to put out their ideas in the hope that people will understand them? We put forth our ideas as if we believed that all who encounter them integrate them so thoroughly that their behavior and attitudes change. We are sure we have “the answer” if only people would listen to us. The futurist part of us dreams that those who integrate our ideas then begin to expose other people to them and therefore they spread until everyone believes as we do. Who are we? We write, teach, we are company leaders, politicians, futurists, journalists, advertisers, playwrights, poets, and publicists. We sit at the bar spitting out our opinions for all who will listen. We stand on soapboxes in the park and stages in theaters and engage in long discussions with friends at cozy cafés. We are the mothers and fathers who tell their children how to behave through bedtime stories and sometimes a swat on the behind. Do we really want to train children to think for themselves? Yes, if we think we can implant our ideas before they hear too many others! Some try to get their ideas out by being a good example, the priest, the missionary, the social worker and the volunteer. Some are prophets for democracy, for market economy, for world trade, for belief in a specific religion, belief in a lifestyle. When no one listens to us - we try violence. We strike, hunger strike, suicide bomb, bomb from the sky, bomb with out looking, rape, pillage, try real war and undeclared war. We say we are fighting for our rights. We are just trying to convince one another of our truth. We are the truth and lead the way. We are only followers when others say what we recognize to be true. In our attempt to convince others sometimes, it is easier to let others do it for us. Often we let their words speak for us, testing the acceptance of the message. What is it that drives us to try to change the opinions of others -to get others on our side? To convince them for their own good - to raise their consciousness, so that they can better decide for themselves. Is it based on some genetic detail we have missed up to now? Are we such needy beings that we must get others to agree with us all the time? Is it just practical or is it a part of some natural law? Here I am writing this to an audience in my mind. I want you, dear reader to be convinced of the words I am saying, “We have a need to convince others of our truth”. The need to convince others is also a personal affirmation. It means recognition and acceptance. It is proof of existence and value, simultaneously. It is not that “I think therefore I am”, but “you agree therefore I think (and I think “correctly”).” I don’t want you to state all the reasons why you disagree. I want to hear how right I am. In Swedish there is a phrase “det ligger något it det” – literally, “there lies something in that”. There is something in what you say. You do not have to agree, just acknowledge that there might be some truth in my words. Your truth and my truth coincide, if only partially. I can accept partially. It gives me room to work on the other part that you do not see as true! That gives me enough acceptances to keep on with my struggle. Thank you.