Yesterday I read an article called “The Lost Art of Disagreement” and I wanted to write about it. Not surprisingly, it’s about the lost art of disagreeing with someone whilst maintaining faith in and respect for the other person. The article talks about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who debated about all manner of things until the day they died, yet they still respected and had faith in each other. Truly, disagreement like this is not common these days in America.
In reality, it’s not likely that you are going to find a person with whom you agree on every issue. It’s not even necessary to agree on every possible issue to have a friendship with someone (thank goodness for that, because you would have no friends if that were the case). I have encountered people that wanted to agree on everything, and when disagreements inevitably occurred, they couldn’t handle it. They don’t like to debate, so they walk away from the conversation and even the relationship.
Not to ramble too much, but perhaps a cause for the aversion to debate is being afraid to change your opinions. Perhaps it could be that you’re afraid that you’re wrong. I can’t think of an exact example, but I believe there was at least one instance in which I didn’t want to engage in an argument because I feared that I was wrong and didn’t want to admit it or change my opinion. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche: “The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
In summary, it’s an interesting article that’s worth reading: The Lost Art of Disagreement. I don’t think it’s without truth, either. You wouldn’t think that disagreeing is something you have to work on, but perhaps disagreeing correctly and with style is.
Note: I wrote the article thinking that I’d come up with a title after finishing, but I didn’t. So there you go. At least it’s a completely original title!