Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
One look at the news lately tells me that human beings are drawn to conflict.
- Iran wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
- Israel demands a red line from the United States, so it can bomb Iran.
- Militants execute a 9-11 anniversary attack and kill our ambassador to Lybia.
- Muslims around the world use an idiotic and inflammatory film as an excuse to attack U.S diplomatic institutions in their countries.
- Obama and Romney get ready to duke it out for the best zinger of the debates..
- The Republican House passes bills that the Democrat Senate rejects out of hand.
- A couple of days ago, I witnessed two men nearly come to blows in the local Walmart parking lot because one walked in front of the other’s vehicle.
Why do we seem to love conflict?
- It makes us feel alive. There seems to be something almost therapeutic about getting riled up.
- It makes us feel principled. We love to fight for what we believe.
- It gives us a simple framework for understanding things. It’s black and white. “I am right. You are wrong. I am standing up for what I believe. You are an idiot.”
But, consider the downside of conflict.
- It makes enemies out of potential friends because it is possible to be friends with someone, while still disagreeing.
- It keeps us in our camps of “us” and “them,” as long as we never get to know one of “them” in an interpersonal way.
- It deprives us of the best solutions. When half of the people are shut out of the discussion, you will seldom, if ever, arrive at the best possible conclusions.
- It fuels hate and keeps us apart. It spreads like a wildfire, sparked by repeatedly focusing on the very worse of “them,” as it drags more and more people into the conflict.
- It keeps us from understanding each other and our personal and ethnic history and culture.
- It sustains tribalism. The group that has the power seeks to enrage and do damage to the other. So they shove their legislation down the throats of their opponents, demonize those who disagree, treat some people as less human that others, and sometimes even go to war.
Can you add to the list? Is there ever a place for conflict?