Okay, I'm much more sober now, and I'm ready to loose some ideas that I've been steeping for a few weeks.
So, clearly I've been thinking lately about intellectual respect. And having lots of arguments.
It seems that whenever I'm forging a relationship, it involves finding the balance of respect and passion. I respect a lot of people for their intelligence and they all make interesting friends, but in my closest friends I find that their intelligence is applied to things I'm passionate about, like books and ideas and memories and politics and game theory and The Simpsons and sports. And food. I also respect people who are cool and collected and considerate, but if we're going to have a relationship with any passion I want them to get angry when I'm a jerk, and I want their heart to swell when we're having fun.
When my relationships fail it's due to a lack of either respect or passion (or both). This is what one recent argument was about. What's funny is that the relationship being argued over ended because I felt more respect than passion, but the argument was quite passionate, and about a lack of respect.
I have had many relationships (romantic and otherwise) in which both parties have enormous respect (intellectual and otherwise) for each other. And when that respect is maintained above all else, we always argue well. Rarely does it devolve to name-calling or violence; usually the issue is hashed out thoroughly and resolved fairly and dispassionately. Each party has their time to address their grievances, each party can rebut. There is order and clarity to the communication.
And then there are the people for whom I feel passion as well as respect. There are no Rules of Order for our arguments. They are epic, meandering and shout-y and in the end we hate each other for everything. And yet these are the people I love the most.
Are passion and respect some sort of twin opposites? Orbiting bodies who both resist and pull each other? What about love and hate?
Another argument I had in the recent, memorable, drunken past was over love and hate. I didn't want to believe that someone who loves me can hate me just as well, but the more I consider it the more true it seems. Take one of my brothers (please! Ba-dum-bum). Hmm, what shall his pseudonymous moniker be? 'B-more' seems unsuitable now -- perhaps 'Hollywood'? Anyway, Hollywood and I have been pretty close our whole lives. I love him strongly and fiercely. I feel protective of him, and jealous of him, and he inspires me and I want to inspire him. But sometimes I hate him -- strongly and fiercely -- and I'm pretty sure he'd say the same of me. I'm not talking about our childish fights over chairs and clean-up duty. I'm talking rage and stewing hatred over (for a few examples) drunk driving, college, money, Scrabble... Maybe it's a side-effect of our strong love and our comfort together that we don't avoid clashes but instead butt each others' heads straight on. And anyone who knows everything about you, and whose opinion matters to you, and who isn't afraid to give you the same kind of blunt truth you give them, is going to occasionally make you hate how close you've let them. Usually when they've called you on your bullshit. Sometimes just when they don't let you get your own way. Anyone who is so similar to you, to the point of reflecting your own faults, or making the joke you were JUST about to say, will occasionally inspire hatred.
And I'm thinking maybe it's only those we really love whom we allow ourselves to hate. My siblings and I had ... well I'll just say it, a violent father, who would also yell at our mothers and us frequently. Part of growing up was finally seeing that in most relationships a difference of opinion doesn't necessarily mean an absence of love -- sometimes we will be hostile and mean and hurt, but we still love (though it's best to avoid being hostile and mean). And the next step is to accept that we can hate the ones we love at times; it doesn't mean that we will hurt them irreparably, and if they deserve the hate, it can be the only way to preserve love.
I can't elaborate any more. The stack of books that won't fit on my shelf reaches over my head, and I have so much I want to read and so much I must write and want to write. But words are like new cars off the lot -- they lose half their value once uttered. Given to someone else to be interpreted, they can't defend themselves. They become silly, and corrupted, and then one day when you hear them again you yourself can't even remember the pure feeling that they described (so perfectly, you thought) and you too must interpret and find them wanting.
Hmm, which brother almost left me on the side of the road in Arkansas?