Importance of Debate in Changing the World


“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” — Mahatma Ghandi

There are many things which are supposed to have a long lasting impact on world. Inventions, discoveries, ideas, thoughts, philosophy, culture and so on. In this article it is discussed if debate also playS as important role in changing the world?

Local vs Universal Ideas
People have different opinions on how things were, are and should be in future because they have different ideas, thoughts, experiences and culture. When they express their opinions, some may agree, some not.

It is interesting to note that their some ideas are accepted and shared by culturally and geographically connected people. For example, lifestyle, food, literature and music. These ideas and differences are easy to accept by outsiders as well and over a period of time the differences either diminish or a hybrid culture is formed which is acceptable to all leading to the evolution of culture.

Another type of ideas, which are more universal, generally bypass cultural and geographical differences and are shared even by un-connected population around the world. For example human rights, ethics and values. Universal ideas play a very important role in changing the world or forming the future of human race. If differences exist between people they may be difficult to resolve and accept.

Debate and Discussion
A debate is the discussion between two or more people of differing thoughts and ideas. It also is a platform where issues arising out of these differences can be resolved or accepted without retorting to other non-peaceful methods. When debate fails or the argument remains unresolved, there is quite a possibility of tension between two parties which may lead to violence as has happened in the past. History is flooded with such examples where, due to the lack of proper discussion and debate, grave misunderstandings have caused battles and wars. In today’s world where countries possess huge power of destruction, debate and discussion is far more important and needs to be encouraged at local and global level.

Debate and Development of Youth
Debate as an exercise is quite popular in schools and universities where competitions take place and winners are decided. Debate also takes place on social media and plays a vital role in forming an opinion.

Debate teaches three basic things:
1. Discussion and interaction while respecting other’s opinions
2. Thinking and researching on the subject so as to try to understand the truth from reliable sources
3. Developing genuine thoughts and opinions

Thus, in a way, debate teaches young people to think, question, research and respect other’s opinions. This is very important for the growth of society beacuse, local and universal ideas and differences, are important to be understood in young age. Such differences, even if they exist, must be gladly resolved and accepted.

Debate is Good
Mahatma Gandhi, a strong supporter of non-violence and truth, also encouraged sharing an honest disagreement with others. He himself was a torch-bearer of universal values when he was in South Africa and India. His autobiography shows that he was open to the South African culture and people and gladly learned their ways and shared with them, his own. Debate also plays a similar role. It helps one think, learn, teach and form ones own opinion at the same time accepting and respecting other’s differences.

Debate has played a very important role in forming the world as it is today and has the power to change the world for better. It just needs to be practiced by being open, curious and thoughtful.

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