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Humberto Maturana: 17 Friendship
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Friendship

We may turn to each other in the desire of reducing our blindness, or in the desire of helping the other see what it is we see. People set up intentional partnerships with each other to do this, and report that what seems to work best is to ask the other what it is they notice, rather than tell the other whatever he or she appears oblivious to. This difference, like the difference in most interactions, depends on emotions. If you are too eager that the other see something that you see, it is very difficult that this person will see it. Because with your eagerness you are pushing rather than opening a space. You are not inviting a freedom of reflection, you are creating a cage by attempting to design the circumstances such that this person will think like you want them to think. So for being able to tell someone something that you think they do not see, you have to invite them in friendship.

Friendship is a very wonderful thing because friendship is living in love. There is no demand, no expectation - you put in a demand or an expectation, and the friendship comes to an end. With friends you can talk about anything. A friend knows that whatever you say is in the acceptance of his or her legitimacy. Even when you are talking about something that you think is inadequate. For example you could say to a friend "My goodness, why did you put poison in the president's coffee?"

I will tell you a story that is told in Chile. These kinds of stories have an element of aggression, but they also show something. This is a story of some students who went to a boarding school where a young Chinese man worked as an attendant. They played pranks on him, put animals in his bed, tied up the sleeves of his nightgown, and so forth. The Chinese fellow said nothing. One day the students repented, and decided to stop playing their pranks, and told the young man that they were not going to be mischievous any more. "No more animals in my bed?" "No, no more animals." "No more knots in the sleeves of my nightgown?" "No, no." "Then I shall never put peepee in the coffee again!".

If you are in friendship you can say things like "I shall never again put peepee in the coffee". It is the emotion that determines the character of the relation, what can be said, and what can be heard. In aggression it is much more difficult to be heard. If someone is trying to convince you, you may of course eventually come to accept the notion, and say "Oh my goodness (grumble, grumble) he might be right...." but this acceptance has to do with the dynamics of your own internal reflection, not with being convinced by the other.
 
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