My ever curious wife once asked me a provocative question: “how do you get to the truth of anything?”
Off the top of my head I said, “. . . through the violent clash of ideas.”
She was as surprised as I was by my answer, she followed on , “I thought you were going to say by science.”
I agreed with her, and then . . .
I spoke my truth:
“Whether it’s a clash of ideas in your mind, or in war, progress is made possible when the clash is most severe, because it produces the strongest new idea. More progress is made in this manner, than through the slow results coming forth from scientific experiments.”
“Give me an example”, she asked with justifiable skepticism in her voice.
“WW2 was a clash between two ideas. Fascism and totalitarianism, as practiced by Germany, Italy, and Japan, on the one hand, versus democracy, as practiced by America and Western Europe, on the other. Sixty million people were killed during this clash.
From this horrible event emerged a new idea. The cause of the war was determined not to be differing political philosophies, but unconnected economic policies.
Hence, rules for global fair trade and economic assistance to poor countries were established by the victorious nations. It was called the Bretton Woods Agreement. The date was July 22, 1944. It included the defeated nations of Japan, Italy and Germany.
The general outline and spirit of this new idea has been responsible for averting world war and promoting global economic prosperity for seventy five years – 1944 to the present.”
With that, Cheri gave a slight nod and said, “Let’s go make dinner.”
As we were walking down the stairs, she said, “say it one more time.”
I said, “The birth of a great new idea comes about from the clash of two opposing ideas.”
“Where’d you get that?” She asked.
“Hegel”, I said.
“I thought so, would you please start cutting the tomatoes.”