Most individuals and groups who appear stuck in long-standing conflicts define themselves, at least in part, as “the ones who must fight.” Whether they see themselves as victims, dominants, or simply as having to struggle to survive or thrive; whether this struggle is with another party or simply within themselves (the individual's life or among group members); this attachment to an identity of struggle is their “conflict identity.” A party's conflict identity is a powerful roadblock to peace and conflict resolution proceedings. Individuals weave conflict identities into their very self-concept. Groups weave conflict into their cultural identities. When this occurs—when the [...]
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Conflicts are a part of everyday life; which is why human beings, and animate life in general for that matter, are natural problem-solvers. Indeed, resolving conflict occurs multiple times every day, and most human conflicts are short lived. Of course, on the other hand, some conflicts last for years, seemingly unresolvable. One reason for the latter may be due to one or multiple of the parties perceiving the other party as the problem. On the contrary, we ought not view the party as the problem, but rather the conflict itself. In this frame, the other party can rather be seen as [...]
I have often heard the suggestion that “people are naturally violent.” And while it is true that human beings do have an innate capacity for violent aggression, I do not believe humans are intrinsically prone to violence. That is, our natural desire is to be in a state of peace, and so our natural state should actually be said to be one of peace. Now, this is not just some whimsical, hifalutin opinion I hold based on an idealistic hope for the world. Rather, my belief is based on both biological and social evidence. Below, I will present my case that [...]