Sunday, April 1, 2007

A 'literal' confusion


Please help me out with this confusion...


Everyone has friends. And friends can be of many types; just friends, good friends, close friends and.... best friends. Now, some or the other time when I have spoken or chatted with my friends ( I mean to say friends in general; not any specific type ), the topic of discussion has touched a term called as 'best friends'.

"I have 5 best friends", "I made 7 best friends in school"... are some of the statements that make me smile sarcastically. Well, being a guy who loves words and respects their worth and meaning (and I am not being rude to my friends who are reading this), I am very adamant when it comes to proper usage of words. Well from whatever english I have learnt all these years, 'best' is a superlative degree; that means its the highest degree. And it goes without saying that whatever is at the peak, or the highest form ought to be unique. And if it is unique, it surely must be a singularly unique entity.. For example, 'Mount Everest is the "highest" mountain peak in the world'.

By this analogy, a 'best friend' should be one and only one friend. How come there can be multiple "best friends"? Thats what my confusion is.... why this paradox of 'many best friends'?

Please help me out of this..

12 comments:

chinmay said...

'best is what best does'...i digress...but that modified quote could assume a semblance of relevance..the extremly unnatural and disturbing[can we make that 'bizzare'too?]phenomenon of children awarding the epithet'the best' to more than one of their friends,occurs primarily in school.now,school's a place where u rarely ascend the ladder of social acceptance if u manage to piss everyone off.we,as masters of adaptation,have perpetrated this master ploy...to stay in the UNIVERSAL GOOD BOOK!!!....forever!!

MUKUL CHAUDHARI said...

u talk of bets frnds. think of this:

u say ur watch is FASTER than mine. what sense faster makes here? do you see time fly by and i see it crawl? this may be answered as the Indian form of english i feel.

mihirtronics said...

well mukul, certainly this is an improper usage of the word 'faster' in the context of a watch. But I am sure the term "best friend" is not improper... isn't it???

Sindhuja said...

hmmmm....u do seem to hav a point thr!!d thot dint cross my mind....
but u know wat.....der can b many bests too.....take a look at movies or sports....ders always sum1 best coming up...der r many bests over a period of time...
similarly in life too...over a period of time...u can b blessed wid many best frnds!!!:)

nehudfriend said...

dear mihirtronics,
true that the word best suggests that its supposed to be for a singular superlative entity but ,how do i put it in words? have you ever listened to "the best" song or "the best raga" or seen "the best movie" or have "a best parent" ? i guess not! you always have 'best parents' and not 'a best parent'! i hope you are getting my point.

you are free to have 1,2 or infinity no of best friends. you never count how many best friends you make or never plan to have only a perfect certain integer no of best friends, friends are someone you acquire over a period of time! they are your treasure. so according to me its ok if you have more than 1 best friend, who would not like to be the richest person with all that treasure of friends.

mihirtronics said...

well neha.... first of all thank u for posting a comment. As regards to 'best parents', parents (ie. mother and father) are to be viewed as ONE.. i don't think any child will make a distiction between parents!!
By meaning 'best', I mean to say it in 'best of the lot' sense. so by this sense..u don't have many parents..hence ur parents are beyond doubt the best.

But as far as friends go, you have multitude of friends... so u know who is the best of the lot. Ok fine..let me ask u a simple question, the answer of which might help u to solve the doubt yourself...

Suppose you and your "X" number of best friends (here we will consider X >1 so as to take into account many best friends) are travelling in a boat. The boat capsizes and u are the only one who can swim... and physically u have the option of saving only one of your best friends... Who would it be?

I think that might be a better way to say what I mean by "best friend".

serene said...

dear mihirtronics,
good, i was hoping to make u point it out to me that u consider ur parents as one entity similarly i consider my friends as one entity. i love all my best friends equally . tell me u said as a child u never distinguished between mother n father, then do u mean u distinguished between friends at such a young age. i guess not, so why do u want to distinguish now

mihirtronics said...

well serene,
i am not distinguishing, i am just categorising, which anyone does... don't u have acquaintances, close friends and best friends??
do u mean to say that there's no difference between them?

Jayee Patil said...

i will have to agree with you Mihir. when i have to address my "best friends" i am consious enough to call them close friend..there is no such thing as many best friends that.. can be only one person and the rest can fall in the other categories. just occured to me.. there is also a verry fine line between a friend and a acquaintances.. a line that seems to be i dont know why blurry for a lot of people!! you must always pick your words wisely!!!!

Deep said...

ok fine i agree wth u bt cn u tell me mihir whn u say "best days in my life one of d best moment of life"wht do umean by dat?

mihirtronics said...

well deep,
i would like to put it as 'one of the unforgettable and enjoyable moments of my life'.

The Transparent Mind said...

There are many things that obey the laws of quantitative physics, while some dont! Physical objects, matter can be quantified. But what happens within a human being can never be quantified, in fact they're never things. I'm talking about feelings, experiences etc. Most of the time, no expression of it does any justice to the internal matter. This is where logic and physics ends. Here, 1+1 wont be 2, but infinity! A simple ex: a parent never divides love in proportion to the number of children..maybe food is divided, but never love...its always 100% towards every child..in fact towards any child in the world. Have you ever heard a mother say, "He is my best son?" Or a father say that he loves one daughter more than the rest?? It'd be the greatest crime if so. Everybody knows it intuitively, its so implicit that it needs to be made explicit to see non-physicality of it.

..and thank god such a property exists..for it offers us an escape from the finite to the infinite..

..interesting!