Humans, it seems, like to divide into groups. They pick some characteristic or group of characteristics, such as ancestry, religion, skin color, etc. Those that are like themselves are okay. Those that aren’t are not okay. History is full of these divisions. Sometimes they seem rather silly: do you root for the New York Yankees, or not? But often they lead to deadly results. It seems we have a difficult time living in peace with those who are different from ourselves. Even soccer fans have been known to come to blows, let alone Hutus and Tutsis. As a teacher of mine often says when someone misunderstands her instructions in class: “if we can’t communicate, how can we ever expect to have world peace?”
Wiser people than myself have developed methods for nonviolent communication, although even those can fail. Years ago, I went to an event intended to foster a dialog about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict using nonviolent communication techniques. We did a number of small group exercises, which all went smoothly, and then the organizers brought in the main attraction: two well known men, one a Palestinian and the other an Israeli. An experienced moderator started the discussion. Within fifteen minutes or so, the two men were yelling at each other and threatening to come to blows. The organizers pulled them off the stage and canceled the rest of the event. It sure undermined my belief in those techniques, at least for very volatile situations like that!
Yet, with enough will and heart, barriers between groups can break down. We recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Although racial tensions remain in the US, much has changed, so much so that we have our first black President. We’re intermingling. We’re embracing same-sex marriage, and welcoming gays into our homes.
In my on-line, serialized novel, one witch who come forward in time doesn’t quite fit in, because some of his ancestors were reptilians, the enemies of witches. Like all humans, some witches immediately welcome him, while others judge him without knowing him. To read this newest chapter, and find out how they deal, click here. To read the entire novel, or catch up on missed chapters, go to Golden Threads.
- Think, Speak, Act (insideawarenessblog.wordpress.com)
- Nonviolent Communication…Language of LIfe? (theunintentionalattachedmom.wordpress.com)