A lot of systems have been devised to help people take control of interpersonal conflict with the aim of facilitating positive, win-win outcomes. But, is there an underlying essence common to successful conflict resolution techniques? Let’s compare six systematized approaches to conflict resolution, looking for commonalities.
Some things not taught in history, probably because they muddle up the stories…
The American Revolution: Fighting Against Freedom
During the American Revolution, Britain proclaimed that any American slaves who escaped their rebel masters and made it to British held territory would be freed.* Thousands risked their lives to take the British up on their offer, including some of George Washington’s slaves. Although the French friend of the Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, strongly urged Washington to free at least the slaves who fought for the colonists, Washington refused and, after the War, tried to convince Great Britain to return freed slaves to their former masters. The British declined, staying true to their word. Some were kidnapped by slave traders, but many thousands were evacuated by the British first to Nova Scotia and later to Great Britain. The Americans lobbied for years to get the British to pay compensation to the American slave owners who had lost their “property.”
Recently, I’ve been practicing a form of the Buddhist Metta Bhavana, or Loving Kindness Meditation. In it, I concentrate on projecting unconditional love and good wishes to all life forms. It feels so powerful that I was thinking it may have a beneficial effect if many people were to synchronize the practice and send powerful thoughts and feelings of love and compassion to specific groups of people.
The problem with the “War on Terror” is that it’s not. It’s not a war on terror, it’s a war on terrorists. It’s the easy way out – attacking people instead of problems. As we kill person after person, we can claim victory after victory without ever winning anything. The war becomes self-perpetuating, even allowing the use of terrorism in fighting terrorists. As the war kills enemies, it creates enemies, which creates more terrorism. Thus the war acts as a living being, ensuring its own survival.
The dentist says I have to have my wisdom teeth extracted. She says there’s all sorts of bone loss and infection and if I don’t have them out I will lose my other teeth and probably die. But I have started an alternative therapy. I have been cultivating fly larvae. I grow them in buckets of stagnant water on my porch. When they hatch into maggots, I scoop out handfuls and fill my mouth with them. The maggots are small enough to crawl into the tiniest crevices surrounding my teeth, even down under my gums through any cavities. They eat all of the bacteria and infected flesh. I am very careful not to swallow them, or too many of them; it’s impossible not to swallow a few.
On Tes’russ, there is but one sentient life form, the uss. There are, however a vast number of diverse organisms that form a complex, interdependent ecological matrix. One of those organisms is the creeky spider. It’s not a spider in the Earth sense of the species, but it looks enough like a small yellow, white and orange spider that humans mistook it for one when they first came across it. It makes a creeky sound when it walks, thus its name. Nobody on Earth paid enough attention to realize that the creeky spider was spearheading an alien invasion.