Originally Posted April 29 2016
Anyone who has talked with me for a decent amount of time has probably caught on that I like using hyperbole a lot. This is partly because I grew up inhaling copious amounts of looney toons and Calvin and Hobbes, and as such find overreactions hilarious, but I believe there is a more serious purpose to hyperbole as well.
Hyperbole is a useful tool for debating touchy philosophy in a (less) threatening manner. I could talk about treating animals with respect, as life is important, and some friends would be singing my praises, while others would be screaming…. Things I would rather not repeat. But at the same time, I could take the example of strapping fireworks to newborn kittens after breaking their legs, and chances are MOST of you would agree with me that this is a bad thing to do…. Or else I am really going to worry about why we are friends… And will hide all future kittens from you….
To dig a little deeper into this, we have to understand the term “Slippery Slope”.
Most people have heard this term before, and I’ve heard mixed opinions as to whether it exists, or people are just big babies afraid of change and putting restraints on society. That being said, Slippery slope works entirely on two lies.
Lie 1: This next step actually isn’t all that far at all… Actually it isn’t even a step! More like nuance and interpretation!
Lie 2: The step AFTER this one, and all future steps that creep you out. Man they are AAAAGES farther! Actually I don’t even think they’re even on this path!
And thus by going down this path, we find ourselves walking without end towards our own destruction.
So how can hyperbole help? Well simply put… If you walk one step ahead of someone they will follow you anywhere. But if you walk 5 or more steps they’ll think you’re a freak. So all you’re really doing is showing someone what lies 5 steps ahead!
Though I should point out it isn’t that simple. Bring forward an example too far down the path and they’ll miss the entire connection. Realize people don’t (usually) walk down the path they THINK is wrong. And if they do it is because they think the benefit is worth it. Because of this, simply telling someone, “YOUR WALK IS WRONG!” Will probably result in them shutting you out. What you need to do is show them the logical steps you are thinking starting at the path where they are headed to help them see what you are seeing from a slightly different perspective.
SO! All this back story to basically point out the thing that worries me.
It is getting REALLY hard to be hyperbolic! Like seriously REALLY hard! I don’t know how many times I try to give someone an extreme example and have to stop myself 3 or 4 times realizing “No wait… People already do that…”
How does one argue right and wrong when people don’t even have the foundation that there is a right and wrong? How do you say “It is important to love!” When people don’t know what love is. How do you say “It is your job to lead!” When people don’t know what a leader is. How do you say “This is good!” When most people have forgotten what something being good entails??
We have hit a stage where we cannot discuss advanced things intelligently because the basic foundations the intelligent conversations are built upon are non existent.
Much like a musician trying to play Mozart, a cook trying to make a 5 course meal, or a basketball player trying to make it to the finals…. Don’t underestimate the importance of reviewing and checking to make sure we know the basics.