In this post I stated:
"... I will [continue to] review my direction as I set out on the course of this Blog and as the need arises I will change courses. I am going to focus my writing on what I am best at - Fatherhood and Planning. Combining these topics follows one of my core beliefs. That is, children make families, families make communities, communities make nations and nations make up the world. So by creating healthy children in happy families we are doing our part to make a better World."
A year and a half later I still hold to this belief. My posts have generally stayed on topic; however, a much clearer central theme has emerged: Conflict. Specifically, I have provided tools, also called "hacks" or "habits", to help identify, manage and avoid conflict in our lives.
By understanding, managing and avoiding conflict we are able to achieve more of the things we want in our lives. The quote by Sun Tsu from the Art of War sums it up best:
- Knowing the other and knowing yourself ~ in one hundred battles no danger.
- Not knowing the other but knowing yourself ~ one defeat for every victory.
- Not knowing the other or yourself ~ in every battle defeat.
I continue to muddle and make adjustments along the way. To this end I have started a new website: EdgeOnStrategy.Com that will focus on strategic thinking. This Blog will remain a stand alone site however it will be affiliated with the new site. As a reader, the impact will be minimal, however, there will be growing pains as we move through this transition period. For content I will continue to share my experience and insights on getting along with the other humans and doing the next right thing.
Colliding World Views
In my experience perception has been one of the most significant causes of conflict. I've written about internal influences on perception - the science behind how personalities effect our perceptions and the conflict this can create. I've also written about external influence on perception such as childhood, education, culture and family of origin and conflict that this creates.
By doing this I have presented a dialogue between "nature and nurture". This approach of using a dialogue between ideas to arrive at a full picture is at the centre of my perceptions. As a student of the humanities, dialectics was a model central to my studies and generally accepted by my peers. I have carried this bias with me for twenty years and stand behind it's usefulness to this day.
The problem is not everyone a) know about dialectics, and b) agrees with it.
First off, it is a model that came from Marxism and carries the shadow of the big red cloud of Communism with it. The original application of dialectics was the social theory that capitalism (thesis) + communism (antithesis) = socialism (synthesis). This application did not stand the test of time; however, the underlying model has many real world applications:
Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis
For boomers who grew up under the shadow of the World Wars, when communism posed a real threat to the western lifestyle, a social theory like dialectics can be tough to swallow.
This is a clear example of how deep emotional, and often subconscious, responses based on perceptions and world views that land us in conflict. The assumption that a dialogue between ideas is stronger than a polarized approach can produce conflict. For example, the nature vs nurture argument can trigger responses rooted in religion. Even for people who don't practice religion. Inadvertently we have stepped into the evolution vs creation debate and all the baggage that comes with it.
The preconception I have towards dialogue was learned - like any other habit. Most experts say it takes three months to form a habit. In my experience, it takes the same amount of time to form a new idea. Perhaps this is why semesters are three months long - or a happy coincidence?
When we first encounter a new idea it is uncomfortable.
Especially when it conflicts with another idea that already has taken hold. This is why most of the ideas we have today were learned when we were young - often from our families. When we were given bad information at an early age it can be tough to overcome.
This is certainly true for me. It would take some pretty convincing evidence and time to change my core belief that a dialectic approach is better than a positional one. This self-awareness however can help me manage and avoid conflict. Returning to Sun Tsu - if I know I am predisposed to dialogue and my peer is predisposed to positions then I can make the conscious choice run, fight or negotiate as the situation dictates - rather than react blindly based on old and sometimes faulty information.
In summary, one of my central beliefs is: "dialogue is more productive than positional thinking". Not everyone shares this belief and this can create conflict that could be easily avoided. Following my own belief there must be opportunity for dialogue between my core belief and a more positional one. As I write this I can see a certain hypocrisy in my own world view in that I am positional about dialogue.
Hmm... I'll have to work on that.
I've stumbled onto a topic that is worth a deeper look than one post. My next post I will look at another source of conflicting world views - dualism.