Necessary Conflict

Disagreement is uncomfortable, we yearn for peace and unity. But is there a purpose in conflict? Modern political divisions often seem unreasonable and unproductive; however, knowing that division is inevitable, perhaps with the proper perspective, differences could prove useful in building a better world. If each side is able to agree on a common goal, one which transcends the importance of their own “way”, then there is hope that each perspective can serve a purpose in achieving that goal.

In a recent interview Dr. Peterson explained, “You need liberals because, now and then, the right thing to do is to do something new. You need conservatives because, now and then, the right thing to do is to do what everybody has always done. And the reason you need political dialogue is so that the liberals and conservatives can continue to argue about which of those solutions is appropriate right now.” (Clip on need for liberals and conservatives minute 40)

School of Athens, Raphael

In our personal relationships we can apply the same perspective. If we are sufficiently humble, we need not fear conflict, but instead allow disagreements to progress our common goal, the relationship. Dr. Jordan Peterson explained, “Part of the reason you want the relationship isn’t so you are happy right now, it’s so that you can live a high-quality life across multiple decades, and so you are looking for someone that you have to contend with, who is going to push you beyond what you already are.” There is a time and a place for disagreement in a life of progression.


A great video on conflict resolution and relationships.

2 thoughts on “Necessary Conflict

  1. The opening quote from Lewis’ novel comes from the lips of Fairy Hardcastle, one of the foulest antagonists in That Hideous Strength. Don’t pretend that it represents the view of Lewis himself.


    1. That is true, perhaps it does not represent Lewis’ view, something I have realized only recently- I have to admit I have not read That Hideous Strength yet but found the quote in another book. It is however an interesting idea – necessary conflict- and this idea seems to correspond with the insight of JBP quoted. I think when we take the truths found in the quote from a antagonist (since Lewis himself did say that lies are often wrapped in truth), with the truth found in Peterson’s ideas – namely that conflict is good when seeking a common goal – then hopefully it is helpful to people. However you are correct that I should read the source book before quoting, won’t make the mistake again. Thanks for reading.


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