Imagine you wake up one morning to the fact that your computer has acquired the faculty of thinking and no longer operates on the input-output mechanism that you are so accustomed to. That means you cannot lord it over anymore; that means you’re helpless and have to conceptualise it as having an agency; that also means that owing to this agency the computer might at times not do things and see the world as you’d like it to.Well, that’s not just a fictional scenario. It has a real manifestation in the fact that our fellow humans have also been endowed with minds that have equal potential, and tilt towards agreement and disagreement. Just as the computer, we too have an agency, using which we sometimes agree to what others say and sometimes don’t, during our debates and discussions at tea stalls, hostels, conference rooms or in drawing rooms, universities, assemblies etc. The latter instance of showing disagreement is what gives rise to questions like,“What makes people so much intolerant of certain views?”. If one were to define disagreement in a simple (and subjective) way, one could probably say that it is the act or feeling of not finding a person’s point of view logical, rational or common-sensical enough, and thus daring to hold a different opinion to what they might have wanted us to. That might be one simplistic and reductive definition of the term disagreement and we don’t have to agree to it (which is the very purpose of this article). Nevertheless, coming to the topic at hand, once we brave the odds and choose to disagree with someone, we inevitably invite their wrath and allow them to classify us under different tags.That brings to mind the question of what is at work behind our dislike of disagreement. As one attempt to answer that question, we can say that our attitude towards a discussion as a ‘peremptory’ rather than a ‘participatory’ process greatly explains our hatred for people who think different from us. In other words, we usually don’t initiate or join a debate with the preview (a) that everyone present merits our attention and might contribute something valuable (b) that we have to arrive at and construct knowledge and conclusions as a group as the interaction goes on (c) that we might not be as erudite and logically sound on the subject under discussion as someone else is. Unfortunately, that holds true for most classroom lectures, faculty room discussions, drawing room chats, and roadside hotel musings. A second explanation to the question at hand has to do with our understanding that just as expensive and cool material items can only be had by members of certain social, gender, titular, or political backgrounds, intellectually and logically exciting ideas are also the privilege of a select few.There is an understanding that just as expensive and cool material items can only be had by members of certain social, gender, titular, or political backgrounds, intellectually and logically exciting ideas are also the privilege of a select fewOnce we weigh the intellectual contribution of people taking part in a debate on the basis of their material or social status, we are bound to be displeased by instances where others venture to disagree with our unqualified and hitherto unchallenged standpoints. In these moments, we almost hear voices from our ego-that unyielding and monolithic monster-telling us that how can another poor and lowly voice sound more knowledgeable and plausible than us. Hence, in this fight between ego and our faculty of rationale, we help ego win in order to avoid bearing with our fellows’ disagreement. A final explanation is our confusion of the content of a person’s argument with his persona. Put simply, that means we don’t think of a debate as an assessment of the validity of our own views as against those of our colleagues. We would rather like to believe that it is a confrontation on an individual level. When we think like that, we give in all too easily to the temptation that if somebody’s perspective doesn’t fall in line with ours, that person has rather carried an assault on our personal integrity. As an unfortunate consequence of that, we develop disgust for such a person though they only failed to find our perspective particularly reasonable, not us as participants in the dialogue.Nonetheless, there’re always silver linings and in this case here are a few antidotes that might come in handy when we see ourselves feeling hatred for disagreement during debates. First, we had better approach discussions with a view that we might not be right all the time. In fact, we don’t have to be. When we think like that, we stand a great chance of not giving respect and worth to our friends’ takes on issues. In that way we also open our minds to the reception of disagreement as an innovative and nuanced way of looking at things rather than a personal attack by someone.We can similarly bother to think that when someone exhibits disagreement with our side of the story, it is because they don’t find it believable enough, and, in doing so they make use of their own unique ‘subjectivity’. If we knew that everyone looked at the vast landscape of ideas through their own limited personal peephole, we’d be more welcoming towards disagreements.One last thing we can tell ourselves is to go back to the basics. Just as children learn, unlearn and relearn the ins and outs of the world in a playful, collectivist and collaborative manner, we adults can also try engaging with problems and philosophies during a debate in an accommodating sharing-and-caring way. Acceptance of disagreement is as painful and transforming, as a spiritual sojourn and at the moment very few people seem to be willing to take it. Our task is to help as many people as possible towards it.The writer holds an MA from the University of WarwickPublished in Daily Times, July 27th 2018.