A:     Do you really think that people would be more open to listen to what you have to say if you’re aggressive and insulting? The other day, you were arguing with Ali over religion or something. It seemed that you didn’t just want to prove him wrong, but you wanted to embarrass him and make him look stupid.

S:     Well, that is what I was going for. I think if you can really demonstrate to someone how stupid their opinions are and shame them for having them, they would be more open to introspection and change. I mean that used to work for me when I needed a thrashing. It’s not always deliberate though. Sometimes I’m just so annoyed with what the person opposite is saying that I can’t help but ridicule them.

A:     You don’t understand people at all, do you? When you attack them like you do, they become defensive. Instead of engaging with you or listening to you, they close their minds and resist. You know why? It’s because no one likes to be insulted, Sadiq. Even if it’s for their own good as you seem to believe. They might want to agree with you but you put them in a position where they can’t do that without condemning themselves. I don’t see you converting people, just offending them. Maybe you just do it to placate your ego.

S:     I do respect people, Ameen. But I don’t respect their views if they are not worthy of it. I just wish they could understand the distinction. Opinions that ought to invite ridicule and condemnation are sacred and mainstream here. The issue isn’t that I’m disrespectful, but that others aren’t. People shouldn’t feel threatened by intelligence, they should aspire to it. It’s not my fault if they can’t defend what they believe in. I’m certainly not going to help them pretend that it’s not nonsense.

A:     You act like you were born an enlightened man. You forget we went to school together. It has taken you years to become whoever you think you are now. But when it comes to others, you expect them to change overnight. You think that because you’ve explained it so well, they must either agree immediately or be ready to be called stupid or dishonest. You have to be patient with people, like you’ve been patient with yourself.