Spit it out!

SPIT IT OUT!

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To argue is to disagree about the world: what it has been, how it is, what it should become. Alongside this, a disagreement about our place in it, about who belongs where. It’s where world is no longer fact but problem. And so everything, rightly, depends on solving it – arguing it out.

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Our defense of a point is as much about us as it is about the point itself. The latter is often an alibi for self-assertion, self-defense. Weapon, shield, or both at once. This is excusable: were it not for that ‘self’, the argument would not matter. And so we are ready to argue over the most pointless things.

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What irritates us at first may later prove pathetic. What got under your skin is now easier to manage; you’ve learned something. The sliver you were neglecting to remove suddenly works itself loose. You begin to feel sympathy for the irritant, remorse for arguing. But be careful: your opponent may benefit more from your chagrin than your pity…

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Certain situations are ripe for you to play at being upset. This tends to work best when you don’t yet know it’s a play.

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A clever mix of indirection and precision, frivolity and seriousness, understanding and inflexibility. Letting much wander, stray, error, digress – yet somehow never missing the beat.

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There’s comedy in every passionate outburst, every contentious display, even in justified protest, but it’s better if this is discovered after the drama’s run its act. The actor needs a stage and an audience to rave at first – even if it’s just an audience of ‘self’.

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As the actor must believe their part, you must believe you can live better – can still stomach more of the difficult truth.

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“There is no salvation for impatience.”—Albert Camus

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In the end, if you cannot laugh at yourself, you’ve lost; but never make a mockery of yourself, or fear to stand firm in your position mid-game. Otherwise, the game will never end.

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Arguing is play-acting: to take a position for the sake of arguing. That is why it hardly matters what you say. Aggravation is part of the pleasure. It indicates a longing for genuine reconciliation. A sure sign you are not just play-acting.

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It is with God as it is with any beloved: more threatening than jealousy, reprimand, or punishment, is incuriosity and disregard. The latter can be mistaken for forgiveness or taken a sign the battle was won; in fact it’s just that the sin no longer matters, the war is now irrelevant. We fight so that we do not forget our love.

*
Often, what most provokes your criticism in others has to do with parts of yourself you have refused to face so far – aspects of your own attitude and behavior you’ve yet to process and figure out. That is why you stick so adamantly to the debate, why you cannot sleep, why you fall into fits of frustration. You are about to meet a truth about yourself, about what obsesses you, but you hesitate at the threshold and blame your opponent for the barricade, as if they held the key to dismantling it. And if they do?

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Patience is the heart of life. Kafka said impatience is what got us expelled from Paradise and it’s what is keeping us from getting back in. But what could patience be without the possibility of impatience? What is action without the possibility of laziness? Ours is a world of codependent opposites that are not, however, equal – neither in worth, nor in difficulty.

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Where laziness signals incuriosity and disregard, impatience signals concern, a desire for focus and achievement. Laziness avoids to bear a difficulty; impatience is so strapped and enraptured by difficulty it cannot let it go. Perhaps the only difference between patience and impatience is – the strength of the grip.

*
Arguments run the gamut from strangulation to make-up sex, bombing campaigns to merged territories. Division and union belong to a dynamic wherein the future of the world is at stake. Love may be a ridiculous game, but it would be even more ridiculous to treat it as only that. We shall argue until we are blue in the face: defeat or reconciliation.

*
It is impossible to go straight to the finish line, and even if it were you wouldn’t want to, since then the contest could not be savored. Nothing makes sense without a detour of conflict – without a failure in judgment, a wrong move, an exaggerated injunction, an overblown indignation here or there. This is why you cherish your impatience so: it is your constant reminder to be more patient. To learn that the path is a good one, and goes elsewhere than you thought.

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Patience laughs at the folly of impatience, but it needs this laughter for its animating force, lest it become lazy, incurious, neglectful. That is why it must carry it like a silly sidekick wherever it goes: without it, patience would lose its why – its urgency.

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Hurry is not the opposite of focus, but its tether. It teaches it how to stop, how to be patient differently.

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If peace is just a lull between hostilities, at least hostility calls out eternally for peace. To argue, only, without violence: isn’t it already a sign hostilities can cease?

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Often, all we are really struggling for is a good use of our frustration, for deep down we know: it’s telling us what we want. And we do not want the world to go to waste.

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A hypothesis: without contention, strife, disagreement, no progress, no freedom, no light. Only the pace of the transit through them differs between us – depending on our willingness to let go, or to fight?

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What is easier, what more difficult – to hold it in, or spit it out? Either way, the right word is in search of you, and it will not let it rest until it’s heard.

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“Strange is the world that reveals its feelings about itself despite its arguments.”—Fanny Howe

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An argument is called resolved when everybody involved goes in a new, or renewed, direction. Clearer in the head, less angry in the heart. By then, these will be the only directions worth it: the only ones that could exist. Such is the virtue of a good argument: it leaves us no other option than to switch places.

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