The history behind the idiom

Agree to differ…

Far from what I thought, it comes from the latin ad- ‘to’ + gratus ‘pleasing'. In the late 14th century from the Old French 'agreer' as 'to please, satify someone'. A contraction of the French phrase 'a gre' meaning 'favourably, of good will'.

What means agree?

So, would it be right to say that agreement is the state of mutual pleasing besides the existence of disparity? If that is the case, to agree with someone is more about the mutual predisposition of reaching harmony more than the similarity of views. It is not a question of changing what the other believes, but more about how we react against the existence of the disparity of views. Do we have the maturity to understand that being open to accept the difference of views and respect others, it is not a betrayal to our own beliefs?

What means to respect others?

The meaning of respect is admiration. How someone can admire a persona that has a completely opposite point of view? Respecting someone that has a different opinion is not the same as respecting an opinion. It refers to respect the persona. To recognise the value of the persona (the full entity with all its merits) and treat it accordingly.

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beast? Confucius

To agree to differ

What a powerful idiom is this one! To agree to differ is from 1785 (also agree to disagree, 1792). When two people decide to stop trying to change others views and start working to be in harmony by recognising that they are more than one unique opposite thought. Finally, they reach a common ground making possible the existence of healthy strong relationships no matter their different opinions. This allows them to find points of admiration in that persona above one unique matter. They respect each other no matter what opposite opinion is in the between.

One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him. Lao Tzu

 

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