The idea of symmetry alludes to a balance or similitude between different sides, while imbalance alludes to an absence of equilibrium. Man’s innate nature is to gravitate towards symmetry in interpersonal relations with other people. Accordingly people tend to “homophily” (or likeminded associations,) and thus they cultivate, form and deepen friendships with people who have a shared cultural, political, and religious background, social class, education, age, etc. If both parties share a comparable background, and nevertheless one party seeks to domineer over the other party, it’s still an imbalanced relationship. As Amos 3:3 says in the Bible, “Can two walk together least they be agreed?” If one party is defined by one set of religious belief, and the other party adheres to another doctrine, should it be surprising that efforts of the non-Christian to continually influence the Christian leads to a rupture? When differences already exist, and then one party seeks to domineer over the other party, the relationship might be aptly viewed as asymmetrical and the potential for destabilizing conflict is thus magnified. If one party has a glaring insecurity, and externalizes it by scoffing at the other party, it leads to asymmetry. The fact too is regardless of trying to persist in paradigms of forgiveness and following the Golden Rule, people tend to remember all the biting condescension, patronizing, rhetorical jabs, and snide remarks, and over time it may culminate in the receiver lashing out at the offending party by way of grievance or just plain spit, fire, and vinegar ire born of frustration.

Amongst the liberal progressive cosmopolitan culture that seemingly extols differences and diversity as an ideological imperative, one should not be fooled as human nature is always at war with their core assumptions. Thus in this paradigm you comprehend a world of condescension, double standards, and pretense that masks inward sentiments. People virtue-signal towards the cultural norms of this paradigm, and yet it becomes a façade.

I find when it comes to having close friendships, and sustaining them, it is true that symmetry is the ideal to strive for. It’s not that one must have a suspension of judgment and view the other person as inherently equal in talents, skills, and competencies. Egalitarian ideology isn’t what I am shooting for here. Rather one needs to dignify the other person as a ‘worthy,’ hence avoid patronizing and condescending attitudes, or externalizing one’s own insecurities onto the other person. At some basic level, one should not countenance inherently imbalanced Platonic friendships.

Asymmetrical relationships may define the relationship of a boss to a subordinate, but that relationship is transactional and contractual; it’s not really rooted in friendship. But can asymmetrical relationships ever bear fruit? Yes, succinctly. Sometimes such bonds forms with mentors and protégés. Other times between husband and wife. Being a traditionalist conservative, I am anything but a Jacobin egalitarian. I accept hierarchy as natural. But one must be careful in recognizing social hierarchy so as to avoid projecting the notion onto your interpersonal relationships as though you’re the King or Duke, and everyone else that comes in your path is the unwashed peasant, or you’ll quickly find yourself devoid of friends and even casual acquaintances.

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