You know what’s ridiculously awesome? The incredibly diverse perspectives people in our world have, and our ability to respectfully share those perspectives with one another.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had an ongoing argument with an old friend on Facebook. I am strongly against most everything he posts related to Muslims and refugees. This has led to lengthy discussions, in the forms of comments on posts and private messages, as well. While I completely disagree with his points of view, I respect his right to have them and to safely and considerately share them. He has opened my mind to another perspective I had not seen.
Another difference in opinion came with a fellow blogger recently. We had a great discussion about what love is. He feels love towards all kinds of people, regardless of how well he knows them. I reserve this term for those with whom I am very close – family, long-term friends, a romantic partner. While I disagree with his viewpoint, I respect his right to have it and understand his reasoning. His perspective is new and intriguing to me.
Yesterday, I had an intense argument with my friend’s mom and their family friend about education. If you don’t know me that well, you may not know how excited I get about education talks. Well, now you know me a little better. I love this kind of discussion (so long as it doesn’t continue to be the same-old topics and ideas). Later I told my friend that her mom was yelling at me about education (haha!). It was all in good fun, but she was also very passionate about the discussion and it showed. While I completely disagree with the majority of her views on education, I fully respect her right to have these opinions and understand where the views come from (there was a cultural factor to take into account). Yet another perspective explained to me.
The many perspectives the world’s citizens have and our ability to respectfully discuss, debate, and argue about them… that’s awesome!
But you know what’s ridiculous? Thinking that argument is bad; not embracing the power of argument in order to see others’ perspectives.
Many years ago, in my ignorant youth, I had a heated… we’ll call it discussion… with my then-boyfriend about the word argument. I reserved said word for any interaction that wasn’t quite a fight, but wasn’t positive either. He was adamant that an argument was simply like a less formal version of a debate. Years later, in my slightly-less-ignorant, and somewhat-older youth, I realize that he was right. You see, I enjoyed the practice of arguing, but called it something different. He got me thinking about what the word meant (and what we were, in fact, doing). It’s a simple example, but that argument got me thinking about his perspective, and questioning my own perspective. In the end, I decided he was right. It’s not always about right and wrong but, as with that argument and all the others I’ve had since, you always come out with a slightly better understanding of the world – even if you haven’t changed your opinion. You see, argument shows us how others see the world. Argument helps us to form our opinions. Argument leads us to truth.
It’s ridiculous to think that argument, confrontation, and difference of opinions is bad. Argument is not a negative thing. It doesn’t mean you’re fighting. Be respectful and open-minded. Take off the gloves. Don’t go in thinking, “I’m going to win this argument,” because an argument is not a debate: You don’t need to “win”.
Embrace different perspectives. Embrace argument to learn and form your own opinions. Don’t be ridiculous. Be ridiculously awesome!