Thanks for Joining me.
Let me share a story with you. It’s an example of what most of us have been taught about conflict resolution, working out differences, and more generally about working and living among each other.
• We have been taught to be more tolerant and less judgmental.
• We have been instructed to respect and value our differences and diversity.
•We have learned ways to communicate more effectively by being better listeners and more receptive to those who disagree with us, those who do not value our cause and point of view.
• We have been shown the wisdom of moving beyond our limited incentives and personal values to embrace the greater good, the collective interest. We might think of this as consecutive subordination: Our interests are subordinate to family interests, family interests are subordinate to community interests, community interests are subordinate to national interests, and humanity rules all.
Do we agree on the list? Of course not. We seldom agree on much unless we are associated with the same cause, the same perspective. Even then, our consensus hangs together on a very thin thread.
Now for the story. It should work like this. We have been taught that it can work like this. We have been instructed to go along with this approach to harmony and mutual success. But we know that it will not work. Even if it seems to be working it eventually fizzles out. Factions emerge, differences intensify, and harmony retreats.
As you consider the story, I only have two questions:
• Why do we persist in trying to resolve our collective issues using the same approaches and strategies we have been taught since we were too young to understand, knowing that the chances of lasting success are slim to none?
• If our conflict resolution paradigm no longer works — assuming that it ever did – and knowing that most will not agree to any new paradigm that might be proposed, how will you approach conflict resolution at the family, community, national, and humanity levels without reverting to the faltering paradigm we have all been taught?