Bridge conversations amongst experts are rarely ever balanced. Balanced in the sense of two people interacting, sharing ideas, constructively criticizing each other's opinions and being open to revising one's own ideas.
These conversations instead consist of the players stating their own point of view, reinforcing their own prejudices, paying attention to the other person's argument with the aim primarily of butting in at the right moment with something like "There is something to that but what if..."
Why is it ? Why can't we hold a civilized discussion instead ? Why can't we learn from others ?
The standard response to this would be that such players have too much ego or that they are insecure or that they are incapable of changing.
I believe that bridge is not a game of logic. The winning philosophy is not one that can be argued using pure logic. Logic is overrated.
The player receives information through the prism of his playing experience, his analysis of his experience, his perception of his experience, he literature he peruses, the opinions of others he respected in the past, the habits of his peers. He distills all these inputs into his own crystallized form of the game, his own little logical setup.
This setup consists of his so-called bidding philosophy, principles and habits.
Any succesful player needs this crystallization, else the self-doubt eats up on one's energy reserves in a competitive domain. There is so much ambiguity in the game and so much subtlety.. Unless one has something solid to fall back on for the big chunk of it, it is very easy to get lost in the maze. This feeling of certainty, of knowing the way to play the game, is a confidence enhancer. It is not the real truth, and on a subconscious plane we understand that it is not the truth but it is a crutch we need to get by. A precious crutch.
A so-called bridge conversation is never about one's philosophy. That is too precious to expose to the outside world. However, if we do respect the other person, then the conversation becomes one of the inputs into the prism of our identity and may indeed one day lead to a change in our thoughts.
Reminds me of a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction
Mia : Do you listen or do you wait to talk ?
Vince : I have to say I wait to talk but I am trying very hard to learn to listen