Progress happens BECAUSE of antagonism, not DESPITE it.
In his treatise on the Senses, Lowenstein inadvertently sums up modern civilization:
Our story is becoming complicated… for each muscle moving a limb one way, there is at least one other moving it in the opposite direction. The biceps which flexes our arm is counteracted or antagonized by the triceps, which extends or straightens it…
They receive on every occasion exactly opposite commands from the command center. When one is made to contract by proprioceptive reflex, its antagonist is made to relax simultaneously. All movements are smooth and are carried out within the safety limits of the load-bearing capacity of muscles and tendons.
Almost every political discussion: “Man, we biceps are pushing so hard… imagine what we could accomplish if we just got rid of those pesky triceps….”
So wait a minute, Cramulus… are you saying that evolutionary biologists NEED creationists?
In some ways, yes — for a controversial idea to “win”, it must engage and overcome the controversy. Evolutionary biologists need external criticism; the challenge becomes a platform for them to publicly make their case.
Opposition is necessary within science, too. Without the antagonistic peer review process, there is no science. Ideas must be tested before their truth is visible.
It’s worth noting that the space race was a direct result of the cold war — competition between political entities. More on that point from Neil DeGrasse Tyson … Our fuel for putting a man on the moon was Fear of The Other, not thirst for knowledge.
I often hear people lamenting the state of things, then assigning blame to some political faction. As if our problems would quickly resolve into utopia if the democratic party (or any other faction) had unchecked political power.
No no — we NEED those spags across the isle to find the weaknesses in each of our ideas and to be exemplars of what needs to change.
The edge is always messy, so it’s hard to see how today’s battle becomes tomorrow’s status quo.
The Civil Rights movement was a response to real racism – if everybody was rather polite about disliking smudgy colored people, the movement wouldn’t have had meat to sink its teeth into.
Occupy didn’t make headlines until the cops started busting heads and pundits made weak arguments against it.
Lao Tzu grabs the handlebars of his bike and shouts: “Good and bad
deify define each other!”
“Study Demonology with an Enemy This Sunday”