Reading Those With Whom You Disagree

Maria Bustillos sees value in it:

That we have the means of doing this—of entering into another mind to find all the riches and the perils that may await us there—affords us the possibility of deep pleasure and understanding. Without the ability to travel outside ourselves, all our conversations are in danger of becoming like tennis games consisting entirely of serves, with never a rally in sight. This is a matter of comprehending and containing the trick of beautiful rhetoric, experiencing the workings of a mind entirely unlike your own.

An example she uses from her own experiences? Edmund Burke:

Reading Burke, or any great polemicist, is a challenging test of one’s own intellectual swordsmanship. There is, or can be, a certain violence, even danger, in the clash of ideas. But I like to think that those hard-fought glimpses of understanding between ourselves and our rhetorical opponents open up the possibility of progress.