Monday, September 8, 2014

An Inquiry into Root cause of Conflict

We see conflicts all around us. Conflicts in families, societies, nations and conflicts within. What is conflict and why it happens? Human history is full of conflicts. Some of the conflicts have been running for centuries and had also resulted in loss of multiple human lives. Some of these conflicts still do not seem to be dying down any soon. 

If we look closely, we see that there are two fundamental reasons of conflict:
  • Perception of threat
  • Desire of something which belongs to others

Perception of threat

Conflict arises when people perceive certain kind of threat. The threats may or may not be real but people perceive the situation to be threatening.  The threat could be of life. The threat could be of the possibility of erosion of religious, cultural, moral or personal values, the values that one considers to be of importance. There are more subtle threats which might also lead to conflict. We all carry an image of ourself within us, and if we perceive that the image is getting threatened or compromised, we tend to go into a situation of conflict. 

People get wired with the ecosystem that they grow with. The notion of good and bad is defined in black and white. The inclinations get part of blood and people react with those inclinations in an involuntary manner. It is the belief system and exist almost at the level of respiratory or nervous system. Very few get the insight of questioning their belief system. In fact, the corollary is that if people get the ability to question their belief system, a lot of reasons of conflict will go away. The conflict is bound to exist when people see their belief system in a threatened state. 

Conflicts are not always bad. There is many times a conflict in society between purist of belief systems and the change agents to those belief system. Seeds of many revolution can also be traced to those conflicts. Many times these belief system. though started with a good intention loose their utility as context changes. In fact they become the reason of agony for parts of society. The conflict needs to be created in those cases to rectify the situation. 


Desire of something which belongs to others

This conflict arises purely because of the desire of someone to own something, and which belongs to others. Many wars and battles of history are the result of the desire of kings to extend their kingdoms. If the person desiring is in power of position, they can snatch it. Sometimes people steal it. However if both the parties carry similar weight, than the conflict happens. The existence of the legal system is basically to deal with such kind of conflict. 

Can conflict be resolved 

Yes many conflicts can be resolved. Especially the conflict of first kind which arise when people perceive to be threatened. However there is no hard and fast process to solve it. The resolution to the situation has to be found from the context itself. People in conflicting situation need to understand their belief system and the belief system of other party. In fact, it's more difficult to understand one's own belief system than to understand others belief system. It's very very difficult to nail down the negative attributes and aspects of one's own belief system, as we grow with those attributes considering them to be positive and non negotiable. No one in the world thinks he or she is wrong. If we can understand that there is no right or wrong, everything needs to be evaluated in the context of the given situation, lot of conflicts can be sorted out.

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