Tag Archives: Conflict Resolution

Admitting when you are wrong

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I have hurt a lot of people. There is no excuse for it, and I take full responsibility for it. In 44 years of my life, I have been blaming others for my inadequacies; I have blamed others for not reaching my goals, and not doing the right thing. I am not a law breaker, I don’t do drugs, and I very rarely drink if any. My life compared to most is pretty boring you might say. I have never owned a house, and I have lived outside of my means, living pay check to pay check, with nothing more to show than debt. I have always felt like a failure, but what I have managed to see is that it is my own fault. I have no one else to blame. The decisions I have made were my own. More than anything, I had to forgive my self, which is a hard burden to shoulder.

 

Now, I have focus, now I have a support system that encourages me. I am a better man, and every person that comes into my life serves a purpose, to make me a better person. In other words, I have goals, plans, and dreams. I have things I want to accomplish. It is about the process, and it is about learning what to do and what not to do. At the end of the day, it is about being better than the day before. I will never take advantage of anyone, I will never intentionally hurt anyone, and I will do my best each day to live life to the fullest.

 

I am not looking for anything from anyone, I am just saying regardless of who you are we all make mistakes. I have tried all my life to do it all alone, and I can no longer do it. I am doing things the right way, trying my best to live by the words I write. In the next few months you will start to learn more about me, my life, the people in it, and how we all can relate to one another. There will be some really good things to come out of this transition, and I hope you will be apart of this journey.

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Emotions

There is a delicate line we must balance when dealing with our emotions. On one hand, the excitement and happiness we experience are feelings we never want to go away. Yet, the pain and suffering we experience are feelings we search for answers too. Some people do not wish the harsh reality of life on others, and there are some who wish for the very worst on others. Especially if they feel as though someone is responsible for those negative emotions.

 

Sometimes we forget just how powerful our emotions can be. They have the ability to consume us to our core, and they cause us to do things we usually would not do under normal circumstances. Look at any conflict and you will see how the emotions of each stake holder played a role in how the conflict was managed or resolved. It is about perspective, understanding, emotional control, acceptance, finding peace, and knowing our limitations.

 

Jim Camp, in an article titled, “Decisions are Emotional, Not Logical: The Neuroscience behind Decision Making” argues that emotions, not logic are the driving force in decision making. Negotiators are doomed to fail if they think facts, statistics, reason, and logic are going to win. These things are only one side of the conflict. You cannot tell someone what to think, how to feel, or what is best for them. Instead, you help them discover what is best for them, what feels right, and what gives them the most advantage. It is human nature that decision making be based on personal interest. Camp goes on to say that when we reveal the problems, pain, and unmet objectives can you start the healing or resolution process by helping them build a vision for themselves.

 

Emotions play a definitive role in our decision making process. Good or bad, these decisions can have dire consequences for those involved. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the over all picture, not just the immediate one, and think before acting. In the end, only you can control you, while other people may influence you, you are solely responsible for your actions or inaction’s.


Why Does Religion Cause Conflict?

Today I thought I would discuss my thoughts about religion. This is in no way shape or form to say my views are right. I am not here to say any one person’s views are wrong, nor am I here to put down another person’s beliefs. However, I would like to cultivate a discussion, or at the very least, a different perspective. The following is based on my own experiences, so take what you want from it.

From a conflict analysis perspective, religion has been at the root of all the World Wars, conquests, and international conflicts. While religion talks about peace and harmony, it is without a doubt extremely violent. There is extremism in many forms, but religion tends to bring violence out the most. It is a strange phenomenon in my opinion because there are no concrete facts to back up the events of religion other than the various versions of the Bible or other religious books. Unlike evolution, where there is scientific facts that are undisputable, religion bases its beliefs on books, written by several men, and is it their interpretation of what God told them. I am sure there are many of you who are exploding or even yelling at my post, but before I am sentenced to a life of damnation in hell, let us explore religion from a different perspective.

What is extremism? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines extremism as belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable. Extremism occurs in every facet of life, not just religion. Richard Dawkins, a preeminent scientist — and the world’s most prominent atheist — asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11. Dawkins examines God in all his form, he is the Author of, The God Delusion, and he says, “The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism – as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’ So did Bertrand Russell: ‘Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.” What is the truth? No one really knows, but what can be for sure is the fact people will go to extremes to protect their religious beliefs. It is the one thing they hold dearest, and they become victims to the insanity of religious extremism.
Christianity is not that old of a religion. It is about 2000 years old, and Hinduism is the oldest at roughly 4000 years old. Just to be clear, Islam is not that old as it is roughly 600 years old being one of the youngest. The earth however is very old at roughly at 4.5 Billion years. Many people, including myself, (believe it or not), believe in Jesus Christ. However, I am a social scientist, and I like to ask questions. Since the Bible talks about Jesus, and history says Jesus existed, I guess we can all assume on some level he walked the earth. The problem with some of the facts lies in the belief these things may not have even happened. It is based on blind faith, and it is based on the fact that we want to believe a human being possessed these so called God like powers. Could it be possible Jesus was born from a virgin mother? It is highly unlikely and impossible. I guess being a scientist I will have to admit anything is possible, but from a scientific perspective you have to have a sperm fertilize the egg in order to form a zygote.

Where does God fit in?

God however is a different story. I know some will say God is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, but I will question this. If God speaks to men, then God was created by something or someone. While religious books say God has no form, it is the omnipresent inside of each person, and God is around us all the time, is pushes me to ask the question where did God come from? He/ she/ or it didn’t just appear. Some higher being or higher source made it. Space is infinite as far as we know, but we are learning there is a real possibility other life forms exist. We have scientifically confirmed the earth is as old as it is, so why is man and religion as young as they are? It doesn’t make sense if you look at the entire picture. Something doesn’t come from nothing. There was something that created everything. Some of you will say to me that it is not my place to question if God is real, but it is my place to blindly believe. I will say you are a hypocrite and you are probably one the reasons religion is as violent as it is…..i.e. extremism.

http://www.religionfacts.com/compare/religions

The following link is a chart that explores the 37 religions practiced by most people. It is interesting to note how many religions follow one another. The Koran, Bible, and other religious books all parallel one another to some degree. It is left up to each individual to interpret what they are reading. At the end of the day, it is not about how right or wrong I am or these books are in their so called religious walk of life, it is about having faith. The problem occurs when people can no longer sit down and have an open discussion without feeling like they are being attacked. I know some of you reading this have deep religious beliefs, and I am sure some of you have had God speak to you at some point. I will say if you believe in something long enough or hard enough anything is possible. The mind is a very powerful tool, and if you believe you saw a higher being, in your mind you did. I have been very close to death on a few occasions, and I can assure you no two experiences are the same.

Does religion cause violence? Yes it does. I felt like this post was important in order to see how many of you were caught of guard by my questioning of your beliefs, your spiritual course, or your God. This is why conflict exists, because people cannot talk about the sensitive topics with out taking it personally. If you feel attacked, then you will attack back. My point is this…… be open minded enough as a scholar, researcher, or religious person to simply say I don’t know what lies on the other side after death. Who knows if God really exists? Or, if anything is even in the after life. When people say I am doomed to an after life in hell, I have to laugh because who are they to judge? The last time I checked, you didn’t walk on water, have special powers, and you put your pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.

Let me be clear. I am not saying it is wrong to believe in God, and I am saying it is ok to ask questions. I have deep religious beliefs as well, but faith is all we can have because there are no true answers to religion.

Solution- be open minded and respectful to others personal views and beliefs. Just because you believe in one thing, and they believe in something else, does not mean they are wrong. Do not push your personal beliefs on others. It creates animosity and further division between people. Stay true to your morals, values, & beliefs. After all, it is your life, not someone else’s to live. Remember at the end of the day, all we can do is have faith that in the after life there is something better than the world we live in. In the mean time, live life to the fullest, love with all your heart, and treat others the way they want to be treated.


Liars

Blog-CIA-motto-300x157One of the worst traits anyone can have is to be labeled a liar. There is nothing more disgraceful or dishonest. Your word should be your bond. When you look someone in the eyes, and you give them your word, mean it. Liars are the lowest people on the earth in my opinion. They have no back bone, integrity, ethics, or morals. They are a disgrace to their family, their country, and they represent the lowest life forms in the universe. They are useless, and I do not have the time or tolerance for those people.

Why is lying acceptable? It could be our culture tolerates it. We have all lied to someone in our lives for a wide variety of reasons, and there is no excuse for it. However, it comes down to what we learned from that experience. I have made many mistakes, hurt many people, and there were times I just didn’t care. I do not claim to be perfect. What I am saying is time creates opportunity, vision, and clarity in our lives. Sometimes we have to loose the most important things in our lives before we can see the things we need to change the most. Life is hard enough and when we hurt the ones we love the most, two things will happen, you will either continue to take advantage of them or you will correct your behavior and be a better person. Take responsibility for your actions, and do whatever it takes to prevent the unacceptable behavior from happening again.

There are a variety of views about lying. Some see lying as harmful and self-interest, while others see it as an acceptable behavior when you are trying to protect someone’s feelings or get out of a relationship, as long as you are always honest with yourself. The only time you should lie would be in a life or death situation in my opinion. At that point, you have to do whatever it takes to keep you alive, no exceptions.  Otherwise, be honest because you would want someone to be honest with you. Honesty builds trust. As I previously discussed in one of my other articles, trust is the foundation for most relationships, when it is lost, you may never get it back. Without a doubt, lying is the number one killer of trust. Look at any type of conflict and you will see when one party lies to the other, trust is completely lost. I know there will be many of you who will disagree with me, and we all live by a different set of rules. My way, may or may not be your way, and it is ok. We just can’t be friends or colleagues.

What is the Solution? Tell the truth no matter the circumstances. The other person may not be happy at the time, but they will respect you more later on down the road. Most people appreciate someone being honest with them instead of trying to hide the truth. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with people because they just don’t get it other wise. Think about how you would feel in the same situation and let your morals and ethics guide you.


Is violence a necessary part of international conflict?

Recently, I ran into an interesting debate about the field of conflict analysis & resolution. On one hand, we as peace practitioners are concerned with understanding the underlying issues of the conflict, examining them from unbiased perspectives, breaking them down to their core so we can expose all possible avenues of the conflict to those involved, and if we are lucky, we will take the information and provide multiple avenues of management or resolution. Safety and security are the number one priorities in any conflict analysis situation. However, there seems to be a stigma in our field that everything in conflict analysis and resolution must be based on the best practices of preserving peace and tranquility, the pictures of the 1969’s Woodstock, NY concerts come to many peoples mind. In my opinion, this undermines the true meaning of conflict analysis and the hard work many people in our field deal with everyday.

While many institutions preach the value of creating and sustaining peace, they fall short by not equally discussing that violence is necessary in some cases or at the very least, these institutions should provide a realist perspective to conflict. I am not condoning or suggesting any type of violence in the workplace, relationships, or any other forum to resolve conflict. I am saying there are people who must be eliminated for the common good. More specifically, extremist such as: Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. The reality is war and violence is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety and security of all stakeholders. This does NOT include or encourage any civil violence or civil disturbances, nor does it condone to take action into your on hands. Nor does it condone the violence against one another in developed worlds or in the United States like the violence we are seeing against police officers. This is murder, it does not solve problems, and it is ignorant for anyone to think other wise. However, from an international perspective, violence becomes a necessary extension of conflict management or resolution, i.e. against ISIL and ISIS.  While violence is usually considered to be the last option, there are times when it is the only option. It must be noted, violence alone does not solve problems, but when it is combined with other techniques it can be very useful. What would the United States look like today if we did not get involved during Word War II?

There are social and political issues that most governments are unable to meet, and these are the most basic human needs of the population, not to mention the psychological aspects that have long lasting effects, directly effecting the future actions of those involved if not addressed early. This is why many people turn to extremist because they have the ability to provide goods and services the government cannot provide. In his research, On Peace in Times of War: Resolving Violent Conflicts by Peaceful Means, written by Juergen Dedring, he discusses the problems associated with the use of modern day techniques. The problem lies not with our ability to resolve conflict, but it is the method by which we try to resolve or mange conflict. The modern problem solving approach is based on rational actors. When conflict has escalated to the point of the use of violence, it is involving non-rational actors. The modern approach utilizes a theory based approach without the practical application needed to fully understand the importance of the stakeholders.

As practitioners, we must be able to think outside the box, and form solutions based on what the stakeholders deem most important, not the practitioner. A theory is only as good as the application. There is no cookbook approach to conflict resolution, especially in regards to the use of violence. We must go further than trying to understand the conflict, its background, its roots, culture, and people. We must approach it from every angle possible to facilitate a solution. Remember it is not your conflict. The stakeholders want to be ones who come up with the solution, because they are the ones who understand its nuances best. They may have multiple resolution or management solutions, but they lack the ability to implement or understand how to best implement the solutions. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans in the 90’s, violence is necessary in order to gain security and safety in order to start peaceful negotiations.

Academic institutions and practitioners should be honest when discussing conflict management and conflict resolution to their students. Regardless of the best intentions, peaceful negotiations may not always be in the best interest of those involved. While most programs believe firmly in the ability to resolve any conflict by non-violent means, it is not realistic, and it is not the world we live in. However, from an educational standpoint, it is important to discuss why violence should and should not be used. Weather or not you agree with war, if it were not for the men and women who put their lives in harms way everyday, you would not be enjoying the freedoms you take for granted.


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