Fighting Magic with Logic

Some people, it seems, are untouchable. It is as if they erect force fields around themselves and their actions, creating a magical aura that precludes critique and shuts down debate. They wield the power, however illusory, of Right.

Oftentimes, what appears to be magic is really just bamboozlement. In those cases, the best weapon is a good question. Obfuscation is weakened by logical inquiry.

(It bears mentioning that questions are so powerful, they can also work in the opposite context. But here, let’s focus on the questions that can dissolve opacity, not the ones that shut down innovation.)

Remember those video games where, if you battered the protective shield around the villain enough, it would eventually dissolve and leave him defenseless? The same principle applies. You penetrate the shield by battering it with question after question after question,  honestly and without snark. You know the answer, or what the answer should be; you’re just waiting for someone else to have no choice but to acknowledge it.

It may seem like such efforts are in vain. Well, it’s not easy. The magic is quite powerful, after all. But if a good question is your best weapon, persistence is your best armor. Keep asking the right questions of the right people and that force field will begin to break down soon enough.

Photo by stevendepolo, Flickr/Creative Commons

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