reductive arguments

“Coming away from a violent discussion at Magny’s, my heart pounding in my breast, my throat and tongue parched, I feel convinced that every political argument boils down to this: ‘I am better than you are’, every literary argument to this: ‘I have more taste than you’, every argument about art to this: ‘I have better eyes than you’, every argument about music to this: ‘I have a finer eat than you’. It is alarming to see how, in every discussion, we are always alone and never make converts. Perhaps that is why God made us two.”

(Edmond & Jules de Goncourt, journal entry for 8 June 1863, trans. Robert Baldick.)