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‘If Only People Could Understand Each Other Conflict Would Not Occur’

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‘If only people could understand each other conflict would not occur’
In most cases, conflict is not explained by a simple misunderstanding. As human beings, we do not operate in such a simplistic manner. Conflict will usually stem from a range of issues. A difference of ideas separates one culture from the next. Obtaining an understanding between one or more individuals in times of disagreements can be problematic because of our own personal and culture values that forge an individual’s own identity. In times of conflict, gaining an understanding between two parties can still be insufficient to obtain a level of peace, one must also be willing to accept the others viewpoint. Even when the same level of understanding has been accomplished, an individual can still encounter intra-personal conflict as a result.

In order to minimise the amount of conflict we encounter, we must first attain a level of understanding of another’s own morals and viewpoints. In times, our own identity can be a productive force that instigates conflict. In Greenville’s novel ‘The lieutenant’ the governor ordered a prisoner to be lashed for the stealing of food in the settlement. Warungin, the native, watched on in interest, yet soon he finds himself standing alone pleading with the governor for the ‘horror of the punishment’ to stop. What is seen as a horrendous brutality in his eyes is considered to be standard practice for the marines of His Majesty’s Service. This level of misunderstanding creates a division between Warungin and The British allowing tension to rise and Inter-personal conflict to occur, because the morals of each party do not agree. This is also demonstrated in the documentary ‘A Kill Team’. Set in the war zone of Afghanistan in a platoon of around 20 U.S soldiers, Sergeant Winfield is confronted with a viewpoint that does not agree with his own standing morals. Winfield states ‘I had the opportunity over and over and over again to do the right thing’ but instead he is forced to surrender his own personal morals, “I am at crossroads…” and acknowledge and understand the standing viewpoint and morals amongst the rest of the platoon in order to maintain a level of peace without interpersonal conflict occurring.

In times of disputes gaining an understanding between two parties can still be insufficient in avoiding conflict. One must also be willing to accept the ‘other’ viewpoint as valid and acknowledge their shared humanity, then and only then can a relationship exist which is productive and reciprocated without encountering conflict. This is demonstrated in Greenville’s novel ‘The Lieutenant’ in the dialogue between Rooke and the young native girl, Tagaran. For the first time throughout the entire novel had two greatly differing cultures shared the “same side of the mirror of language” allowing an “understanding [that] went in both directions”. Between the two, they have accomplished a level of understanding and acceptance of each other’s culture and their individual viewpoints. When one is able to achieve this, conflict is unlikely to occur because of a solid relationship that has been formed on the basic principles of dignity and understanding. When two parties have not achieved a level of acceptance for each other’s own personal and culture values, conflict is likely to arise. This is examplified in the conflict occurring between Israel and Palestine. The division between the two sides has been considered the worlds “most intractable conflict” predominately due to the fact that there is no willingness for acceptance between each side, allowing conflict to continue without obstruction.

When the same level of understanding has been accomplished, an individual can still encounter Intra-personal conflict as a result. The reasons can stem from a range of issues, from fear right down to the characteristics of the individual. This is clearly evident in the documentary ‘A kill Team’. Sergeant Winfield confronts his own morals and perceptions with the ones around him as he states “Why am I the only one who is not Ok in this? Why aren’t they stepping up?” Between himself and the entire platoon, Winfield is able to present a sufficient level of understanding of the morals and values set by the rest of the group and willingly accepts them in fear of being ‘taken out’ by his own men. Although he has understood, accepted and acknowledged the value of the opposing side, an inner turmoil continues to persist. Even though the interpersonal conflict has been assessed this does not eliminate the lingering sense of irreconcilability with in the individual. As a result this fear prolongs the intra-personal conflict.

In most cases, the complexity of the human being does not simply allow conflict to be overcome by attaining an understanding of the other side. One must also being willing to have a level of acceptance for the opposing standing morals and viewpoints. Upon attaining this, can we then possibility of avoiding interpersonal conflict, but intra-personal conflict may still linger as a result.

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