Does it have to be that way, though? I hope not.
Talking about fellow writer Julio Cortázar, Borges once said: “I think we profess quite different political creeds: but I think that, all things considered, opinions are the most superficial thing there is in someone; and also I like the fantastic stories of Cortázar.”
Also: “Julio Cortázar has been condemned, or approved, for his political views. Outside of ethics, I understand that a man’s opinions are often superficial and fleeting.”*
I find Borges’ comments tremendously insightful. It’s very interesting too that he exempted opinions on ethics from his view that opinions are superficial and often ephemeral.
I think it’s worth noting that often what on the surface appears to be a disagreement on moral sentiments (in which case there’d be almost nothing to discuss, no agreement to reach, since there’d be no common starting premise) is rather a disagreement on how best to accomplish some end that both sides actually cherish.
I also love that Borges said “and also I like the fantastic stories of Cortázar”, which shows that, even though we may dislike someone’s political views, such views don’t necessarily define that person, and we may still find a lot to like in them, and other rewarding ways to connect with them.
I developed this a bit further here.
*In the original Spanish (source):
“Creo que profesamos credos políticos bastante distintos: pero pienso que, al fin y al cabo, las opiniones son lo más superficial que hay en alguien; y además a mí los cuentos fantásticos de Cortázar me gustan.”
“Julio Cortázar ha sido condenado, o aprobado, por sus opiniones políticas. Fuera de la ética, entiendo que las opiniones de un hombre suelen ser superficiales y efímeras.”