When two people find enough common ground to start a friendship (or relationship), it’s certainly cause for celebration; after all, it’s more likely that the mass of people one comes across in one’s life are likely to be of an incompatible or even conflicting fundamental character – either indifferents or fundamental obstacles.The joy of finding another person with the same interests and basic take on life as yourself is akin to that of a more concrete-bound mind finding a lost blood relative.
Nevertheless, the nature of individuals being what it is, it’s inevitable that even good friends may, from time to time, need to throw down, look each other in the eye and ask : “Can you defend your truth with your fists?”
Sparring between friends – pitting your ideas against those of your amigo – can prove a most beneficial activity indeed, and should be practised at every feasible opportunity. Some friends may well prize consensus at any cost – but can such really be called friendship?
So why is this collision of convictions such a plus in a strong friendship? Because, for one, arguing with a friend is a great way to refine one’s views; you may not see eye to eye on the perfect society, age of consent laws, the use of semantics or melting Greenland, but you can certainly learn a lot from each other about the strengths and weakness of each other’s arguments – as well as your own. Thus, any holes poked out by the contrary friend can be examined and mended for a stronger argument the next time – useful if facing an opponent of your friend’s viewpoint who is not your friend.
In short, such sparring strengthens one’s position, saving one from looking like a fairweather or fool in front of true opponents.
Another good reason for bouts of cerebral combat with one’s ami? Self-affirmation, purely and simply; you may not share certain intellectual viewpoints with a good mate of yours, but at least you can say to him and yourself that you have certain intellectual viewpoints, as opposed to being another anonymous clone soldier. I think of two “friends” who vote the exact same way, listen to the exact same bands, share exactly the same views – to the point of even replicating the exact same words and I think: Goodbye, persons – hello, protoplasm!
To be succinct, such sparring prevents two minds from melding into one.
And the third major reason I can think of: well, because it’s fun ! I struggle to understand how people who agree on everything with each other wholeheartedly can even keep their hearts beating – wouldn’t these vital organs fall into suspended animation, much like their brains? Conflicts keep one’s sangre surging, keep one animated and alert, infused with an affirming anticipation….
That’s why when I see Friend A suppressing oneself or shunning Friend B due to the latter thinking one of the views of the former flawed or idiotic or misguided or whatever, an inward sigh permeates through me; B having a certain point of view does not taint A by his association with B – especially if A assumes an opposing position! As long as you both own your views (as opposed having your views own you) you should continue to cherish your points of coalition with one another and not let what you mistake for pride cast you in a shameful light.
Despite what some may try to bullshit you into believing, conflict is as vital to any good friendship as compatibility; whilst many may mourn and lament this fundamental fact, I accept and embrace it with arms extended….
….because I know that, despite the propaganda I may have read in my Bible, the meek shall not inherit the Earth, much less the hand of true friendship!