Friday, August 20, 2010


[Dearest Edahn,]

Can you be true friends with someone whose intelligence you don't respect? I have an answer, and I think I even put this Q to the test this weekend but am curious to hear your opinion.

No you can't, reason being that true friendship involves intimacy. Let's propose a new definition of intimacy, ready? Intimacy is being able to see things from another's person's perspective. When you can legitimately do that, you have intimacy and feel close, and in a true friendship, both parties are able to do that.

If you're too busy trying to protect yourself from another person's stupidity, you end up putting up a wall. You might see what they're saying (how else would you show them that they're morons?) but you're not really seeing it from their perspective. You're seeing it from your own perspective and seeing how their views don't align with your views properly. That means you don't have real intimacy, just artificial intimacy. Curtis Hardin, my favorite college professor, developed a theory called Shared Reality Theory that aligns with what I'm saying. The theory states, inter alia, that relationships are maintained to the degree that people share reality (ideas, views, opinions). It's a cool theory.

As an aside, it's really interesting to see people with artificial intimacy (I see your thoughts from my perspective) transition into true intimacy (I see your thoughts from your perspective). Sometimes this can happen when group boundaries are redrawn. For instance, you have a "friend" you've been arguing with about everything. You go out to a place you don't know with people you can't stand even more and your friend gets into an argument. You suddenly come to your friend's defense and see everything from their perspective. All the knowledge you had about them and their views can become suddenly integrated and you feel very close. Which is to say, you share reality. It's also interesting how that can fade. It really shows how vulnerable and arbitrary our ideas about the world can be.

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