Levin had often noticed in arguments between the most intelligent
people that after enormous efforts, an enormous number of logical
subtleties and words, the arguers would finally come to the awareness
that what they had spent so long struggling to prove to each other had
been known to them long, long before, from the beginning of the
argument, but that they loved different things and therefore did not
want to name what they loved, so as not to be challenged. He had often
felt that sometimes during an argument you would understand what your
opponent loves, and suddenly come to love the same thing yourself, and
agree all at once, and then all reasonings would fall away as
superfluous; and sometimes it was the other way round: you would
finally say what you yourself love, for the sake of which you are
inventing your reasonings, and if you happened to say it well and
sincerely, the opponent would suddenly agree and stop arguing.
– from Anna Karenina


~ by justinhong on November 20, 2007.

3 Responses to “”

  1. Wow, quoting Tolstoy? You overwhelm me with your erudition.

  2. hmm.

  3. Mind if I steal this? It reminds me of Ender’s Game, where Orson Scott Card says that Ender is able to defeat his enemies by knowing them exactly as they know themselves with all the hopes and fears that go into how they see the world; but to know someone this deeply means to love them as they love themselves; and in Ender’s moment where he knows and loves his enemy, that is when he destroys them utterly. That is the tragedy of Ender’s Game: how Ender is the only one able to understand his enemy (where the rest of us see them as evil)–and therefore could have been used to make peace–but instead is used as the ultimate weapon of destruction.

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