Here is a summary of the model of conflict resolution (or "peace building") presented in The Anatomy of Peace (2008), by the Arbinger Institute.
Sometimes yes, you might say. But it's likely that most of the time, it doesn't work. What to do then? Well in my experience, we tend to keep trying harder, louder, longer, hoping that one day, he will get it!
That's the classic pattern, and that's how conflicts tend to get entrenched.
In simple terms, it is to say that we have more chance to invite change in someone if we approach her without resentment, if we have built a relationship with her and her friends/family, if we have listened and learnt from her, and if we explain clearly the change we want to invite. Is that really surprising?
The secret of the Peacemaking Pyramid is that it prompts us to look for solutions to a problem at a deeper level than the one the problem seems to be at. The answer to a problem at one level of the pyramid lies at the level below.
I remember, as a teen, my mother telling me to spend more time working for school and less time smoking marijuana with my friends. I always refused to listen to her, not because what she was saying was wrong - in many respects, I knew she was right, I had similar thoughts about myself and how I was spending my time... but I was reacting to her way of being, her heart was at war with me, and she related to me more as a "problem to fix" than as a person. Of course, I was reacting with a heart as war too, and we were each inviting war in the other.
EDIT: Oops! I inverted the descriptive paragraphs for "Heart at Peace" and "Heart at War". A Heart at Peace sees people as "people", and a Heart at War sees them as "objects", not the other way around! I'll change it, in the mean please read in diagonal :)
What do we mean by "way of being"? In fact, it means the way of being with others, the way we are in relationship. Human beings are social beings, and we know ourselves in comparison with and through the eyes of others. Our "self-image" is really a "self-image-in-relationship-with-others."
There are two ways of seeing others: as persons (leads to a heart at peace), or as objects (leads to a heart at war).
What determines which way we see someone? Simply, our choice.
Because we are following a way of being that is counter to our own sense, we need to justify our self-betrayal. For the sake of a consistent self-image, we cannot be the cause of our own problem (for if we were, we wouldn't have caused it in the first place). Someone ELSE has to be. That someone else becomes an object of blame, and we begin to see everything about him in a crooked way. This is the seed of war; our need for justification distorts our perception of reality. We choose to be right over being at peace.
About a year ago, I was at an academic conference I was very excited about. I was listening to a presenter I admired - let's call him Kent. As his presentation was finishing, I had the desire to talk to him. Not that I had a lot to say, but I was drawn to thank him and tell him I liked his work. Several other people were approaching him, catching his attention. I was waiting for the good time, for his eyes to cross mines or some other sign, but it didn't happen. I started to wonder: "did I want to talk to him so badly? I mean, if it's complicated to reach him, why should I bother? I'm not a groupie after all, and it's not like I have something special to say to him. If he only talks with people who praise him, he probably doesn't deserve my interest anyway..."
This little inner monologue is barely conscious, but if I pay attention I can tell it's occurring. I started with a desire to talk to Kent. However, I made the choice to betray it and didn't approach him. I then needed a self-justification, which I found in a crooked view of Kent as arrogant, and only interested in having worshippers around him. I felt somehow bitter and resentful toward him, and as a corrolary, I created a flattering image of myself as "above the mass".
What if I don't feel the sense/desire in the first place? It is possible - and I think, very frequent - that by growing up, after betraying our desires enough, we get used to a certain style of justification. It becomes part of our 'personality'. We thus begin to see the world through our crooked view more than we don't.
Look at the Choice Diagram. When I choose to betray my sense, my Feelings, my View of Myself, my View of Others and my View of the World change. Because I choose to feel justified, my whole worldview shifts, and I begin to live in a resentful (or unfair/frightening/mediocre/etc.) world. Metaphorically, we can say that we see the world through a box. The world I see becomes determined by my box. No wonder there are so many destructive conflicts - people don't see the same reality in the first place!
There are different styles of boxes, or patterns of disorted views. We all have several or all of them to some degree, even though we may orient to one or two more often. They are pictured in the following diagrams.
Depending on the moment, the people, the circumstances, we may use different boxes, or no box at all. Remember that every relationship, and every moment, is an opportunity to make a different choice - to honor or betray our sense.
This famous quote from Gandhi is more than a nice philosophy, it is a practical formula for action. Here is how the Arbinger Institute formulates it:
- Crux of the model is in the self-betrayal/justification piece. Where does this knowledge come from? It seems, from 1st person accounts (zone #1) only? verify that.
Assumptions:- natural, unbiased tendency of human beings to see others as people
Echo with other ideas:
- Kegan's support/challenge in inviting development in others: Dealing with things that are going wrong = challenge ? Helping things go right = support ?
- Arbinger's "sense/desire" sounds similar to Raskin & Rogers' (2000) unknown inner intuitive self, which can be accessed by emptying the soul (Noddings,1992). (References found in Beck. 2005)
Conflict Resolution >