By Philip Suzara
Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of my mythical life pond.
One can see many things happening at the edge of life’s pond, as in any pond. Decisions are made there, life changing decisions, defining moments… to get in the pond, or not. The pond is encircled by its edges in different forms and kinds: straight, jagged, rough, rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, or mud. Very much like people. No matter the differences we have, we all belong there… around the life pond, inside, outside, at the edge, but there.
I look at people and come to think about conflicts, the why’s and how’s of their occurrence and circumstance.
“Violence is the last resort of the incompetent”… these are words of wisdom from the science feature writer, Isaac Asimov.
This thought succinctly dissects and captures the root of the levels of disputes and conflicts. I, too, believe that, under normal conditions, intelligence and communications, or a lack thereof, plays a major factor in the level and quality of conflict one may get entangled in.
When one has an inadequacy in communicating his thoughts, of conveying his message across, you would notice that arguments are engaged on higher decibels with emotions on the upscale. Notice, too, that if the other protagonist is on the same level and responding commensurately, chances are that the level of debate escalates towards the power level – the power of volume and strength. The essence of the point of argument may never be reached at all in this type of conflict. I will raise my voice and budge you, as I may, to prove to you that I am right. I have a louder voice and a bigger body and I can beat you up like you could ever imagine. And I win this argument because you are already floored. This scene might probably work in the jungle but would, definitely, not ever find space in a civilized society.
Reason, a good and solid foundation on the issues one might pursue, is the tender for a decent engagement in a conflict. Level headed, and decent people are not exempt from arguments and disputes; setting ego aside, they will still have issues that may have to be undertaken in a conflict with and individual, a group, or an institution in an intellectual and socially acceptable manner. The main objective of an argument or a debate should not primarily be in winning it; the goal should be to ferret out the truth and come to an understanding of the truths in an issue and/or the point of argument to be embraced, or accepted by both sides. Winning one is purely bonus. One does not win or lose an argument, we all learn!
In the practice of martial arts, the masters share some valuable wisdom in conflict resolution; while all are steeped in the techniques, skills, and the art of war, they impart to all that fighting is not the be all and end all of conflicts. Possess and protect your truth, be firm in your resolution but gentle in your manner, avoid a fight if possible, engage when inevitable but always surface your truth as the point in the conflict, the fight should be because of the truth and never about power. The truth you possess will propel you to higher levels, in the fight between David and Goliath, truth boosted David’s strength and skill. Finally, when you have the advantage, you pull back and ease up on your opponent, never terminate with extreme prejudice because there will no one to learn the lesson, your truth. He will have to go back to his followers and sphere of influence, alive, humbled, but not broken. Perhaps he will be a better man having a new learning to impart to dear ones and followers. Let him live and enjoy tomorrow as a better man.
Truths will remain as such, its intrinsic values and integrity will remain untarnished and intact, whether someone is there to defend it, or not.
Rachel Platten’s Fight Song comes to mind, the strength of her truth pulsates…
“Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me”
Such will and determination to get hold of life - this is the power of one in action, the power of one with a truth.
We will overcome all the obstacles life will dish out, our truth will set us free!
Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of life’s pond.
Creature of God. Child of the Universe. Global Citizen. Lover of Life. Freedom Fighter. Agent of Change. Lone Wolf. Occasional Consultant for Strategic Communications.