Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The beauty of offense

You've heard it said that the best offense is a defense, but I'm going to suggest that the best offense is an offense. The thing that a sleeping world in love with the status quo needs is not another tolerant dismissal of the beautiful violence caused by difference in opinion, for that kind of tolerance is really just indifference; instead, a sleeping world needs a frying pan against the head, the clanging outrage of a provocation and the subversive voice of a carefully configured opinion. Such provocations force us to consider where we are, how we see the world, and where we think we ought to be going. They offer a dialectical solidity against which we can process both our ignorance and our wisdom. They give us the concrete in order to suggest that the absolutisation of the concrete has its shortcomings.

I'm very grateful for those in the world whose opinions differ from my own, since it is often by this kind of conflict that I am able to sharpen my wits and reconsider the stability of my own perspectives on things. If you want to test how good your arguments are, it's not going to help you to hand them on a silver platter to someone who is only going to agree with you. The best way to sharpen a blade, after all, is to have it grind against something solid: a stone or a piece of metal. If you want to dull a blade, keep using it on things that are softer than the blade. Eventually, it'll stop being a blade and start being, well, just a little boring.

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