Monthly Archives: lokakuu 2017

United Colleagues


Viikko 42


Motion: THB that all employees at a workplace should be extroverts
Role: Whip (opp.)

Dear Assemblage,

Extroverts have arguably gotten the upper hand recently in terms of cultural ”hegemony”. What has boosted the fates of extroverts is their apparent preponderance and gleefulness in the settings of social media and reality-tv, which already dominate people’s spare time. Also, at work, the default mode(l) of setting up an office; the walless open-plan office favours a personality type that has little or no social reserve.

Introverts, in turn, have been forced onto the defensive. How they have defended themselves has naturally come in the form of books, such as Quiet, as befits them. It can also be pointed out that introversion has allegedly been the preferred norm of human behaviour, if we go back in time or stray to the Middle or Far East from the West.

The question of –version is a longstanding one and problematic. Having listening to this conversation, the pros and cons of extroversion and introversion have been mentioned by and on both of the debate sides.

Extroversion brings out the best in us. Very often we bring up in discussion something that can only come up because of the discussion. Namely, it is something that the others say that triggers us to say something back, in an affirmative way. Left to our own devices, we simply could not muster that inspiration and thus we would leave that ”path” untrodden. And it can go beyond that. The mere presence of people around us can alter the way we feel and think. Artists feed off that feeling, as they go into their ”performance” mode when they are before people, whereas they go into their ”aesthetic” mode when they are alone. Maybe our science is just too limited when it comes to this effect. It might be a question of pheromones travelling through the air that triggers things. Thus, the effect of presence would be in a way inevitable. But we don’t know, yet.

Extroversion brings out the worst in us. In front of other people, we are not free. Social rules and expectations guide us to say things that we don’t actually believe in. Egos clash in a room, very often between people who are not unlike each other. Unnecessary digressions and diversions, compliments and apologies pepper any dialogue between several people. Watered-down compromises are reached and have to be, as a roomful of people couldn’t let one of them dictate what would happen. Populism may get a foothold among a roomful of people, when it would leave an individual cool. Narcissism flourishes better in company, as people like the sound of their voice a lot better when there is someone listening to it.

Introversion brings out the worst in us. Alone, we may think that we know the Answer. If one has taken drugs to enhance the effects of self-absorption, the thoughts that result are almost certainly even worse. Alone we are certain that we can pull something off, even if that was not the case. We bridge the gaps that exist between our drive and desire and our capabilities. We’ll think that several pairs of hands or some machines will mend the deficit that exists between what we want to do and what we can achieve alone. Alone, we write diaries. Writing such a thing may feel satisfying in the moment, but it is meant only for that moment and few future moments. Namely, it is a moment of synthesis-forming, but it is deficient in the sense that it leaves out all the facts and feelings that would have been experienced after the fact. This is the reason why it seldom pays off to read one’s juvenile, youthful diaries. On our own, we know our present self but don’t know our future self.

Introversion brings out the best in us. When one is in an empty room before a sheet of paper, magic happens. This is the proven method that has given us manuscripts, scores, canvases, dissertations, essays, poems, synopses and aphorisms. Alike writing a diary, creating art or an innovation is about forming a synthesis. But it stays on the ”good” side of the equation. It takes into account its epoch, all ingredients and other people in a way a diary doesn’t. Culture comes to life inside the full heads of adult individuals who reside in empty rooms and before empty files, screens or sheets of paper. The emptiness is absolutely needed for this process to happen. Social presence would either alter or inhibit the process.

I think that our workplaces are in such need of differing and variform agents and actors that it would be almost impossible to imagine that a certain type of character could meet all of those needs. A much more realistic scenario is that many different kinds of characters can better serve a gamut of different purposes and needs at a workplace. Therefore, I consider the govt’s motion this house’d favour extroverts at the workplace false.

Thank you.

Arvio: Olen saavuttanut väittelyn aivan viimeisimmän puhujaroolin. Puhujista viimeisin voi myös kritisoida puolustamaansa puolta, kunhan hän viimein puoltaa sitä. Muu tuntuisi oikeastaan rasittavalta — ollaanhan tähän asti kuultu vain räikeän puolueellisia esityksiä. Kuulijat haluavat myös jotain muuta tasapainoisemman tunnelman vuoksi. Tässä rakenne on tahallisen symmetrinen, kuten lukija varmaan huomaa. ”Vertit” mainitaan yhtä monta kertaa, mutta lopulta kanta vedetään oman puolen mukaiseksi. Whipin panoksen on kuitenkin syytäkin erota aiempien puhujien panoksista. Hän ei ole ihan ”sama”.


United Colours


Viikko 41


MotionTHW take as many refugees as possible, as defined by the national infrastructure
Role: Whip (govt.)

When it comes to refugees, the discussion is lively and ambiguous, as the previous contributions have amply demonstrated. Our side has championed refugees strongly, whereas the opposing side has maligned and condemned them in equally strong-language terms. Being a spectator, I might be tempted to choose either side at the flip of a coin.

However, as the whip, I’m going to opt for defending the refugees in the way that is open to me. I’m going to tell you why they should be let in in pandering to the theory of ”influential allies”, something which is usually missing in the political debate, where the individual is rotely placed at the center, being alone the ”driving force” of forces around her/him.

Our first speaker reminded you about the national reputation and the fact that no nation is an island. All countries have ties to neighbouring countries and they also have ties to more far-off countries which expatriates have emigrated to and immigrants immigrated from. France has a special relation with Algeria. Indians and Pakistanis have a special relation with the UK. The descendants of slaves have always had a special relation with the former slave-trading conquering countries, this hinting at a trading partnership, even if the merchandise were the ”merchants themselves”. In other words, refugeeship would only be a way to form new ties in an evolving world, and nothing more than that. It would be about give-and-take, not just about giving or taking per se.

Our 2nd speaker told you that the reason for aiding and abetting refugees is the fact that they may result in improving your life quality in your own sphere. A refugee can be a future spouse or dependent. Refugees may turn up at the workplace, owning or manning them, usually as colleagues. Dining out would be a very common way of meeting refugees, but true for any number of us.

Our 3rd speaker offered you the viewpoint that, even if one personally did not have any contact with refugees, that MIGHT be the case among one’s family and relatives or friends and acquaintances. Would you sever your contacts off with them due to their hooking up in some way with refugees? Considering they might only pop up in conversation without your never even having personally met them, your attitudes would be the thing souring down or cheering up the prevailing ”situation”.

In any event, what I’m saying is that none of this may be relevant to you as a citizen. You may NOT care about national reputations, personal contacts or familial affiliations, as we’re a nation of singles’ households; those singles sometimes having severed their ties vertically to their genetic and geographical past, and horizontally to their fellow man, except for the employer or the state. In that case, consider this: you still have to like refugees, for they are liked by the elite of this country. If you care to take note, you’ll see that politicians, artists, businessmen, clergymen, athletes, journalists and civil activists all tend to accept and endorse refugees.

Together they have more power than the side opposing refugees, in all likelihood. An individual member of the elite does not count either way, but as a mass, members of the elites are too formidable to offer resistance to. As much as you may like critics of immigration, they seem to be feeble, prejudiced, disorganized, uneducated and misled. They do have visibility and a voice, also structures, but it’s small fry compared to the forces that have allowed immigration into our country. This, I think is the final argument that carries in the end: even if you don’t like refugees, the fact that people more powerful than you like them forces you to like them, too.

Thank you.

Arvio: Puheessa summataan kaikki aiemmat puheet yhdeksi kokonaisuudeksi. Ideana on kursia kokoon muiden parhaista (tai sopivimmista) paloista vielä yksi hyvä puhe. Loppu on hämmentävä. Toivon sen taivuttavan kuulijan puolelleen; puhe kun on yhdistelmä retorisilla keinoilla ja tosielämän esimerkeillä vaikuttamista. Mutta en tiedä, miten se otetaan vastaan. Joku voisi pitää sitä valheellisena, epäloogisena vetoamisena ja kehäpäätelmänä.