Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Third Side of the Coin

Conflict in your life is not only an eventual reality... it is a neccessity. You are going to disagree with someone somewhere probably even today... and this can be a very good thing.

The thing about conflict, is that there are 3 levels of looking at it: i) your way, ii) the other person's way, and iii) (if you can enable yourself to do so) how an impartial observer would monitor the situation. Advice my dad gave me years ago, "there are always 3 sides to a story, my view, your view, and the truth".

In our hedonistic society, we often only consider our own opinion, or the concept of the world we have created based solely on our own experiences and biases. It takes a mature and wise person to consider anothers' point of view, and it takes an even more mature, even wiser person to consider that you may both be right... or wrong.

A perfect example may be Willies' blog from tuesday... 2 navigators around the time of aristotle may be argueing over which country is closer to the 'end of the earth'; while Aristotle proposed that there is no end at all and that the world is flat.

One model of argumentative theory puts that a thesis compared to an antithesis with compromise leads to sythesis. This new thesis gets matched against a new antithesis and thus our view of the world evolves. Instead of Point A + Point B leads to new, improved Point A... considering the third side of the coin leads to new innovative approaches that may speed up A + B theory, or introduce direction of thinking C.

In any case before this becomes a purely hypothetical postulation with no practical application, just remember how you can use this approach today...

There is much more to right and wrong or me vs you in any conflict situation. Conflict leads to an opportunity for one or more people to abandon their biases and adapt a new point of view; or create one that has not even been considered. As one philosopher put it regarding letting go of our prejudices, "in order to learn anything, we must un-learn everything".

While that may be a bit extreme and impractical, just remember when you come into conflict, leave your baggage at the door and listen and consider A, B, and C before you respond

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