Monday, December 20, 2010

The Extended "So What?" Test and why this is very important today

The call out "Where are the results?" is a rhetorical question. It is a qualifier to any assertions we make about certain things and can be used as a polite way of saying So what? or, better yet, to further qualify a response to the "So What?" question.

When, for example, we make an assertion, the best way to test whether said assertion is relevant is to ask ourselves: So what?

For example, when you make the assertion "Filipinos sacrifice a lot", ask yourself: So what?. The discussion then becomes a bit more interesting as the challenge then becomes how you would then answer that question. Specifically, the discussion morphs into one that revolves around So what if Filipinos "sacrifice a lot"?

Going further with this example, a possible response to So what if Filipinos "sacrifice a lot"? could be: "Hmmm, well, sacrifice makes us more resilient."... which then leads us to the bottom line question:

Where are the results?

Consider too that the statement "Sacrifice makes us more resilient" is yet another assertion which can then be re-subject to the question "So what?". The intellectual landscape of Filipino thinking abounds with such infinite loops of "debate".

Perhaps if we take the time to re-visit many of the assertions we make or underpin our belief systems with, but this time armed with a better way of regarding these assertions, a good number of these time-wasting infinite loops of "debate" that suck the life out of an already intellectually-bankrupt society may be killed. The formula is quite simple:

(1) For every assertion you make, ask yourself: So what?

(2) For every response you make follow-through with the question: Where are the results?

(3) Take note of the assertions you make that pass the above tests and develop them further.

(4) Label the assertions you make that do not pass tests 1 and 2 and label them "Bullshit".

I've taken the liberty to turn the above into a process diagram which can be found below.

Currently in power is a political mob that lives off a lot of these infinite loops of "debate" at the centre of which are all these dubious assertions. As such it becomes very important today to follow a process for facilitating the emergence of the right arguments and a discussion where the right questions are asked.

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