[Reprint of a Conversation with W. Q. Judge; The Theosophical News, July 12, 1897, p. 8]
I do not like arguments. They lead into endless labyrinths and convince no one. For conviction must come from the inner consciousness absorbing a truth.
If you overcome an adversary in argument you do not convince him of any fact -- save that you are better posted on your side of the subject than he is on his side; and leave him with no intention of adopting your theories, but of studying to strengthen his own that he may the better combat yours.
It is better to ask permission to state your case clearly, producing your evidence, then leave your case to mature deliberation in the mind of your adversary.
If you have a truth, and the soil in which you desire to plant your seed is ready, he will receive it. If not, it is quite useless to argue the matter thus setting up vibrations of antagonistic force harmful both to yourself and others.
You may say that Plato point by point combatted all opposition to the theory of the Immortality of the Soul. True; yet, in all the centuries subsequent, how many have believed in the soul's immortality because of the victory of logic compared to those in whose consciousness awoke a conviction from the gentle teachings of Buddha and of Jesus?
Controversy belongs chiefly to the intellectual plane, and is seldom waged for the pure spiritual uplifting of humanity.
When we have come into a higher conception of brotherly love there will be no argument; for if a brother cannot perceive a truth when its evidence is stated then he is not ready.
Seeds are never beaten into the unbroken ground but sown in the tilled soil.