sounding smart

a classic thing that happens is someone says "i think the reason is blah" and then another person says "i think it's something else" and then a third person says "it's a bit of both" or "it's somewhere in between" or something like that.

it's such a reliable thing to be able to say and it takes so little effort, yet you can sound quite wise saying it. oh shit! it's both things?

i'm not trying to be derisive. it's just a fact of how conversation often works. it's like the rule of threes in comedy. it has to be three things because if you only have two things then there's no expectations to subvert.

euclid could have put it in the elements. look:

a graphic outlining the geometric necessicity of three examples in order to create expectations. the first example sets the premise, the second example creates a direction for the audience's expectations to take, and the third example subverts those expectations by not being in the direction the audience was thinking it would be. the graphic uses a paraphrased conflation of two of my favourite jokes to make this point: the orange head man joke and the joke about the men stranded on an island where one man wishes that his head was stuck nodding for the rest of his life.
interestingly, the third guy wishing for a trillion dollars would also be pretty funny

when three people at a party undertake the great pastime of trying to work out what the fuck is going on, one person will eventually propose their theory. someone else will then disagree in some way and suggest an alternative. then the Canny Third Person swoops in.

"I see the disagreement you two are having. Allow me: it's a bit of both."

"Oh, sick! Thanks, man!"1

no one is trying to be bullheaded in this process. it's just how these sorts of conversations have to be staked out. the mechanisms of the world are multifactorial, but no First Guy with a shred of compassion is going to enumerate their complex 10-factor weighted model of Blah to two strangers. they're going to say what they think the main factor is. then the Second Guy will dilligently remind them of the second main factor and how it's equally if not more important. then you step in and moderate and eventually we hone in on the amount of truth we have the patience to find.

or, you can instead make this meta observation about the mechanics of dialectics and really shut shit down.

party on.