Living with Conflict

The Provost of Drexel University recently sent out a lengthy email that detailed his difficult situation as a native New Yorker living in Philly and cheering for the Phillies during the 2009 World Series. He used his situation as an impressive segue for introducing a new philosophy for Drexel’s different departments, which are now offering programs and courses aimed at general audiences. Or something like that. I was actually kinda mad to receive an email during the World Series that was boasting about the glory of growing up as a fan of the Yankees and skipped over those parts.

I’ll spare you his thoughts on the Phillies, Yankees, and Drexel in the interest of sharing an eloquent, interesting excerpt. It’s OK to think deeply on a Sunday…

“The great American poet Robert Frost writes, ‘Nothing in life runs unmixed.’ The challenge of living comes from its complexity, its multiple perspectives and possibilities for interpretation, its uncertainties. Solving an equation correctly is satisfying; it provides closure. A really good movie or novel or poem — or a complex scientific or engineering problem — prompts more questions than it answers, poses challenges that are not resolved easily or perhaps at all. Friendships and relationships do not run unmixed. Major life decisions do not run unmixed. The great art of living well involves learning to live with uncertainty, becoming comfortable with conflict, even becoming able to balance two competing theories or perspectives at once — or affiliations to two sports teams locked in fierce competition. That’s why it’s an art and not an exact science.”

Mark Greenberg, Drexel University

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