A friend asked me how Chesterton and H.G. Wells could respect each other so much when their disagreements were so stark.
Here’s the quote about Chesterton and Wells:
“Despite their creative goading, Chesterton, in his Autobiography, completed just weeks before his death, wrote movingly of their relationship: ‘I have argued with him [Wells] on almost every subject in the world, and we have always been on opposite sides, without affectation or animosity. . . . It is necessary to disagree with him as much as I do, in order to admire him as I do; and I am proud of him as a foe even more than as a friend.'”
And here is my response:
I was doing some work on the forthcoming “Stepping into Controversy” seminar this morning when your note came.
Reviewing my research to various books I’ve read it seems that it is hard to downplay the role of technology, esp. social media.
One of the books I read is written by two Catholic scholars: A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction. The best part of the book in my estimation is where they show how technology robs us of our “face.”
Tribes today can be nasty because you can so easily hide your face. In contrast to this, we need to cultivate being WITH people. I like to say that “proximity produces perspective.” If you are not close to anyone who has a different view than you, it is easy to be nasty and detached from the need to be gracious in disagreements. Chesterton and Wells had a more difficult time hiding from one another!