Some time ago my son was continuously telling me how he was crushing teams on FIFA 16 (this is an Xbox 1 video game). He would come up to me and tell me how he crushed this Premier League team or that MLS team or some national team. He would go on and on about the number of goals he scored against these teams, the moves he made and in general about his overall dominance.
I decided to check something about his game. What I discovered is that he had the game set on the lowest level for the play of each game. I do not remember the exact levels, but they are something like “Rookie” then “Experienced,” then “Professional” and ultimately “World Class.” Whatever the exact names are does not matter. He had it set on the easiest one. He did this so he can win. He felt good about his situation because he set up a weak enemy to battle against.
So what, right? He is 11 playing video games. But I think many of us do something like this in real life. We have an opinion or an idea or an argument for whatever. We convince ourselves we are right by setting up weak arguments or straw men in our heads for the opposing or opposite opinion. We put the opposition on rookie mode and then crush them. This may make us feel smart, but it is not honest and in the end it is silly. If an idea or opinion or position or argument is strong, we should not fear strong opponents or opposition. In fact the strength of the opponent should force us to see the strength of our point. When we argue in rookie level, we actually minimize our intelligence and the effectiveness we could have in making a case. Furthermore, we minimize how smart others are and the fact that they make have a good case or sound logic for their position. Let’s be careful not to call ourselves smart and correct and others dumb and wrong based on a scenario that positions us as a Harvard law grad and others as having the logic of preschooler. Because the truth is, neither of those is usually true. Be sober minded about your intelligence and the intelligence of others.