In academia, in politics, in life, I often see two intelligent adults build a rift over a disagreement (large or small), fail to resolve it, and continue for the rest of their life with the rift in place.
It’s ego. It’s human nature. But it makes life more difficult. My advice (to myself and others) is to always let it go no matter what. Linger in the muck of anger for a few days, take a few naps, and then patch up the damaged relationship in whatever way that it will no longer be an anchor on your mind. The weight of conflict can take away the freedom to enjoy this short life and to form meaningful friendships along the way.
In politics, shallow bickering seems to be the modus operandi. Somehow it has become a commonly accepted notion that conflict helps win elections. Showing what someone else did badly is more effective than showing what you did well. Perhaps that might be the case in politics, but I still hold out hope for the personal interactions of regular human beings. There are very few conflicts I can imagine that cannot be resolved through a little swallowing of pride. It might hurt for a day, a week, a month, but it will make life more enjoyable, more productive, and more meaningful in the long term (years, decades).
I’m often reminded of the Borat clock radio “great success”:
There will always be someone with a clock radio that you can’t afford. Let it go.
I was listening to CSPAN which luckily does not feel the need to “entertain” and thus provides some of the most objective coverage of how the sausage is made in our government.
Two guests were on, discussing tax reform. One was from a “conservative think tank” and the other from a “progressive organization”. They were making their points clearly and intelligently but going right down the line in terms of the standard boilerplate fiscal arguments associated with their respective party.
It struck me at some point that competition of ideas is exceptionally important to the checks and balances of our government. Moreover, the quality, logic, and reasonableness of the ideas is not what’s important. The most important part is that there is a significant group of people who genuinely stand (almost dogmatically) behind that idea.
In defending and idea, this group of people will search out every little problem about the opposition, and thus keep the opposition as honest as possible.
Sure, creationism might seem like an absurd infringement on the very foundation of science, but in the long-run it will keep evolutionary research honest by limiting the scope of their claims, and sharpening their arguments. That’s an extreme example. Most example are more subtle, like the moral and economic arguments over tax policy.