The past two days I have been engaged in talks about process and systems to deal with conflict. Oddly enough the discussions were heated as some people were very rigid in their thought. There was a balance point that hinged upon consent of the people. The consent is an agreement between the parties as to the method of conflict resolution.
On the surface it is easy to agree that the people are the ones to choose the style of conflict resolution. Now this meeting was focused on issues in a Canadian urban setting. However, I had to point out that a few hundred years ago shooting each other was legal in Canada. I was quickly informed that such things do not occur anymore. In response I noted the fifteen murders that prove otherwise. Also I pointed out that our federal government has given tacit support for leadership change of the Syrian government.
The argument over process has been around for as long as people have gathered in communities. There are many governing systems, electoral systems, conflict theories and management styles. Within each of these is the common goal of peaceful coexistence. Even all out war has the grand goal of peace. Other commonalities rest in the reality of the aftermath of war.
Trust, respect, open communication and an open mind is essential for each of us to live peacefully. These commonalities embrace most procedures that frame a conflict resolution discussion. Even within the personal realm of inner conflict we must have these commonalities for our own self esteem. Without those components life can be stagnant, which will evolve into a sense of being trapped or not in control.
Being in control is the essence of peace. In the wider sense of society, consent and legitimacy are hallmarks of sound government. Who is the legitimate leader in Libya or Egypt? Who are the legitimate parties involved in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, etc… In each of these countries legitimate governing powers have been questioned and consent of the people has been eroded if not completely withdrawn. In this circumstance we can become embroiled in violent conflict due to the breakdown.
In order to evolve we must change. Society will not change unless individuals are able and willing to change. The individual must be open to new thought and new processes. Being self aware is vital to societal peace, this is the crux of the single person impacting international peace. For many of us we tend to use a single process/style of conflict resolution throughout our lives, although we may be aware of many others.
Dealing with conflict takes a flexible mind. As events unfold, the mind will process information using what it knows. Sometimes all it takes is a different view point, like turning the scrabble board or chess board.