Markus is the most intelligent person I know, if not the most considerate. With the grace of a calm sea, he can listen to anyone’s argument, restate all the points better than you did, and explain all the concepts you missed while reassuring you that he understands why you thought that way to begin with.
Oh, I hate his arguing skills.
We discuss issues often – policies, philosophies, society and mass psychosis, climate change, and so on – and his larger perspective, both practical and idealistic, is equally fascinating and irritating.
Even more is the way he argues. While I can channel your everyday dictator – passionate and simplistic with the patience of an ambulance in traffic, Markus goes full diplomat on me – curiously asking questions, citing the bigger picture, and presenting, not even defending, his points as if he is young Dumbledore.
Sometimes we reach a consensus, other times not, mostly because our fundamental views of what makes us human differ. And that is okay. The point in arguing is that both sides are heard and understood.
This is why nobody wins our arguments. There is nothing to be won. We discuss to be informed, to gain a new perspective, and to find better solutions out of more neurons.
Though one day I will squish that smug face of his.
Micah, on the other hand, has no problems calling things what they are. Or people, for that matter. I truly admire that about her.
It’s all nice and proper, recognizing that we live in a relativistic world. That absolutes tend to be arbitrary. That anyone’s motivations come from a place they believe is “right”. The problem is that it can easily lead to mental paralysis. And boy do I get paralyzed at times – until Micah snaps me out of it.
The same is true for lofty ideals. Yes, there is a lot of potential for greatness everywhere and in everyone. But at the end of the day, potential is not real until it has been realized. So, until that point, banking on it is little more than delusional at best and destructive at worst. Micah rightly tends to remind me of this, and it helps me keep my feet on the ground.
But perhaps this shows why nobody wins our arguments – they are not arguments to begin with. Arguments tend to be an exercise in wanting to be right and wanting to prove the other wrong.
Merriam-Webster defines a “conversation” as an “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas”, which seems to fit much better. It is explorative, engaging, and collaborative. Maybe we would all be better off arguing less and conversing more – and maybe I would now be better off trying to rein in that smug face of mine.