A: you're wrong.
B: no, YOU'RE wrong.
A: no, YOU'RE wrong!
B: no, YOU'RE wrong!
ME: this isn't solving the problem. You've both used rhetoric, appeals to emotion and (sometimes) sound logic to try to convince each other, but neither of you is budging. A, I think you're just going to have to live with B believing what he believes. B, the same with you for A.
B: Stop siding with A!
A: Stop siding with B!
Me: I'm not taking sides!
A: Well, you should! B is wrong. If you don't see that, you're as bad as he is.
B: If you're not with me, you're against me!
Me: but you guys have been fighting forever. Meanwhile, puppies are dying. Do you WANT the puppies do die?
A: Hey, I'm not the one killing the puppies! That's what B is doing.
B: Don't pin that on me. You're the puppy killer.
Me: B, I have to admit, I have felt the way A feels many times in my life. I'm not saying he's right or wrong. But it's a very powerful feeling. I wasn't able to just get over it, and I doubt A can either. He's probably always going to feel that way.
B: Oh, so it's MY fault?
Me: No. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying A -- right or wrong -- is probably going to feel the way he feels. Just as you are going to feel the way you feel.
B: But A is WRONG!
Me: We've done that already. Puppies are STILL dying.
A: And it's B's fault.
Me: I know you think that, and I'm not saying you're wrong. But try to understand that B was abused as a child, and...
A: Oh, so that gives him a free pass?
Me: No. It's not about free passes. But the fact that he WAS abused as a child makes him the way he is now, and...
A: STOP excusing him.
Me: I'm NOT excusing him. I'm just explaining why he's the way he is. If you're right, then there's no excuse for the way he's acting. Fine. You have the moral high ground. You're right and he's wrong. But where does that leave you?
A: If he's wrong, he should admit that he's wrong.
Me: But he's NOT going to admit that, because he doesn't think he's wrong.
A: But he IS wrong.
Me: Not to him, he isn't.
A: That's not my problem.
Me: You're right. But puppies are still dying.
B: Because A is KILLING them!
A: Because YOU'RE killing them!
Me: do you see how you're at an impasse? A, what if you just assume that B is wrong but there's no way to possibly get him to see that. View his wrongness as a force of nature. B, think of A the same way. Okay, you have opposing views, and neither one of you is EVER going to convince the other one he's wrong. That's just a fact. That's life on Planet Earth. Since "that's the way it is," shouldn't we accept that and work to figure out a way to co-exist DESPITE our differences?
A: No, because B is WRONG...
--- AAAAAAAND: SCENE! --
At some point, I realize that A and B just want to fight with each other, that they need to fight with each other, or that they don't know how to stop fighting with each other. Sometimes you just have to let people fight.
The fact that they're fighting is just as much of a force of nature as their two views. So if I take my own advice, I have to just accept living in a world in which their conflict is eternal.
I try to take that advice, but I fail, because doing so forces me into such a bleak view of human nature, I don't want to live on this planet any longer.
Also, I think it's false. SOMETIMES diplomacy works. Sometimes. It's rare, but it happens. So if I quit putting myself in this position, I risk failing to solve something that can be solved.
But I have a hard time figuring out which conflicts are solvable and which aren't. I really WANT to fall into a belief that they're either all solvable or all hopeless, because either of those beliefs would make my life so much easier than the messy, complicated truth.
Or I wish I could just join a team. For all their fighting, both A and B are much happier than I am. Much more confident. But I am not a team player. I can't root for a team just because it's my team. I don't know how to do that.