GRE Issue Essay 91

“Only by being forced to defend an idea against the doubts and contrasting views of others does one really discover the value of that idea.”

The learning process in the life of an individual is largely determined by the number of conversations held with others. A conversation is an excellent medium for gaining immense knowledge through the views and opinions of others. The issue being discussed in a conversation is addressed by each member participating in the discussion from his point of view. Hence, it is natural for doubts, which question the viability of a particular idea, to come up during the course of a discussion. It is undoubtedly true that the learning process is seriously hampered by discord and disagreement. However, there are cases when such heated arguments over an issue actually succeed in evaluating the worthiness of an idea. Therefore, one can discover the value of an idea in a major way with the help of people who support the same idea. On the other hand, one cannot completely negate the effectiveness of the process of defending one’s idea, against the doubts of others, in throwing light on the value of that idea.

There might be cases wherein the participants of a discussion are skilled in different areas associated with the implementation of an idea. The doubts of these skilled people will help in analyzing the worthiness of the idea and whether it can be successfully implemented. For example, if a company has to launch a new product, then the company will have to put the idea in front of its management team which will question every aspect of the launch of the product. There will be questions related to the investment required, the publicity campaign, the competition in the market, the mindset of the consumers etc. The opposition to the launch of the product will definitely be supported by facts and figures which will prove the ineffectiveness of the idea in achieving whatever is being envisaged. All these doubts and contrasting viewpoints will end up in revealing the shortcomings of the idea. The next step could be to refine the idea based on feedback which has come in the form of resistance to the idea from the other team members. Therefore, in the long run, the process of defending an idea against the questionable attitude of others would actually succeed in analyzing the worthiness of that idea.

On the other hand, there can be no fruitful discussion if the members of a discussion have contrasting points of view and everyone is trying to prove that the other person is wrong. There have been instances when the conclusion of discussion on a particular topic could not be arrived at because no one was willing to compromise. What can be expected if the owners of a company refuse to modify an original idea despite vehement opposition by the management team of the company? There will be no learning process and the value of the idea will remain as it was when it was initially conceived as no one would be willing to accept the other’s viewpoint. On the contrary, if the idea is accepted by the management team, there may be fruitful discussions wherein everyone supports the viewpoint of the person who has conceived the original idea, leading to further modifications to the idea, thereby making it more suitable for its successful implementation.

In view of the above, it can be concluded that the value of an idea can be discovered by getting positive support from people who share similar views and this value can also be discovered during the process of defending one’s idea from the doubts and contrasting viewpoints of others.