Martin Buber’s prescient commentary on social media discussion:
Debate = Thoughts are not expressed in the way in which they existed in the mind but in the speaking are so pointed that they may strike home in the sharpest way, and moreover without the men that are spoken to being regarded in anyway present as persons.
Conversation = characterized by the need neither to communicate something, nor to learn something, nor to influence someone, nor to come into connexion with someone, but solely by the desire to have one’s own self-reliance confirmed by marking the impression that is made, or if it has become unsteady to have it strengthened.
Buber further describes this tendency to mistake so-called dialogue for reflexion, defined as withdrawal from accepting with his essential being another person in his particularity – a particularity which is by no means to be circumscribed by the circle of his own self, and though it substantially touches and moves his soul is in no way immanent in it – and lets the other exist only as his own experience, only as a “part of myself”. … Then Dialogue becomes a fiction …