I have some alternative metaphors for you. I find them useful.
When humans interact, they tend to do it in four basic ways:
* Helping oneself over another. (Bandit)
* Helping another over oneself. (Helpless)
* Helping both. (Intelligent, or Love)
* Hurting both. (Stupid)
I see these everywhere; forums are a particularly good example. I break it up into two different groups: Debate (Intelligent) and Argument (the other three). This is because I tend to see these behaviors:
* Trying to force an opinion on someone else, make them look bad, or "win." (Bandit Argument)
* Trying to help someone that isn't open to it. Wasting your time. (Helpless Argument)
* Insults, fighting, flaming, etc. -- both trying to "win." No one wins. (Stupid Argument)
* Open, friendly, and willing discourse on a point of disagreement. Both win. (Intelligent Debate)
In a Debate, you may not end up agreeing with the other person, and they may not end up agreeing with you, but in the end both are better for considering a different perspective. Both are open to giving full consideration to what the other has to say, and if one changes their views, it's not because they have been bludgeoned into submission or proven wrong, it's because they have chosen to adopt for themselves something they consider better.
Disagreements are inevitable. It's how people handle them.
(I first encountered this way of thinking in The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity
. Sadly, this page has recently been gutted [EDIT: Internet Archive to the rescue