Monday, June 15, 2015
Arguments among friends: Who's right?
I am beginning to understand how partial truths are expressed in a dominant societal context. Those of us that are well assimilated become wedded to truth-oriented discourses that demand we be quick to point out how something said is not true. To me this suggests that they have not carefully considered the depth of what is being said, or were partially listening—enough to have found what is “wrong” about what is being said—or any combination of these things. I was/am one of these people who is in the process of attempting to divorce from this mindset. As of late, once having thought about a given interaction, I am finding this sort of communication to be violent. Violence in the sense that the other is all but shut down or cut down. It is hard not to want to come back in a way that reduces the person to ashes. This is how coercive power works interpersonally; it is meant to dominate, to make someone an opponent to be defeated, to make someone a “leader”.
On the other hand the possibility of community building, of bonding over difference/in spite of difference is gradually diminished. If it is clear that the other person just wants to be right, victorious, etc., then I have lately become aware of this to the point of simply listening and considering what is being said. This may be taken as an act of cowardice and pandering, but consider that the other person also simply is not in a state of mind where they could even appreciate a differing point of view. At some point it is clear when they are not acting in the spirit of listening et alone understanding. As such listening is a way of letting go of the need to be right, or to be understood (which is harder to do).
Like I said, I recognize this tendency in myself. Indeed this could be considered a reflection on previous incidences where I am blinded by a subtle rage that puts me in a battle mindset. I came to the resting place that although I might be fierce and they might be considered warriors for justice, this does not translate well to interpersonal relations where we are supposed to be friends.
Can I really trust that this person is really here as my friend when I feel like the basis of our relationship consists of proving how right you are? How much better than me you are in your positioning? Proving how down you are? Proving how dumb I am for saying what I have to say? My understanding of matters may be incomplete but the same applies to you, partial truths that vary in degrees depending on what is being discussed. Am I really your enemy here?
Humble, compassionate, and nonjudgmental people are highly (self)aware and therefore incredibly hard to come by. It is these people from whom I am learning most effectively. They relate out of love and it shows. I hope to be truly on their wavelength at some point. So much work to do when it comes to being a good friend.