Observations on Conflict
We are locked in conflict. A struggle of cultures. Us and them.
Is it war? Is it love? Is it hatred?
No. Conflict is social interaction. Some conflict is gentle and tender. Some conflict is tumultuous and belligerent, but settles back into something near civil. Some conflict is about humiliation, and venom. Some conflict is vicious and vitriolic. Some conflict is death. And blood. A race between two adversaries to destroy each other.
But conflict is always a social interaction. It's two or more participants, in a bizarre dance together. It has a bond. It has the power to destroy. It also has the power to heal. But that might depend on you.
Most of us are at odds with conflict. We are ignorant. We pretend it is not happening. We don't see our part in it. We accuse and deny. We base our own honor on our lies. We deceive. We deceive ourselves.
So many among us think conflict is just one thing. They don't know that it is many things. It is there in love. It is there in family. It is there in being a neighbor. It is there in debate. It is there in war.
Conflict is in everything. It entangles everybody and everything.
There is no escaping conflict. It simply is.
We are stupid in the ways of conflict. We are ignorant. We boast and we are vain. We are conceited. We don't know what we are doing.
In conflict, it is well to start by getting to know the truth about yourself. Do not believe your own bullshit. Do not believe your own press releases. Do not believe your own words. Do not believe yourself at all when you sound noble. Until you know the sound of your own lies.
Get to know the people who call themselves your allies. Some have real honor. But many seek to entangle you in their adventures. They fill your ears with talk of values. They speak of things that make your emotions rise. They fill you with pride and urgency. But they are ignorant. They shout filth in the street during, waking the violent ones. And they expect you to join them. Know them well. For they are not your friends. And you owe them nothing.
Do not believe your own innocence. Do not believe your own pleadings. Do not believe your own emotions. Until you have examined yourself through your opponent's eyes and you have seen where you are wanting.
If you are full of opinions about your adversary. If you think you know what you need to know about them. Think again. If you think you possess the uncontestable argument. You deceive yourself. If you are not experiencing a change of viewpoint, you have learned nothing. If you only see what you always saw, you see nothing because you are blind.
If you do not see the need to learn about yourself. If you do not see the need to learn about your opponent. If you have already learned enough, you are the cause of your own destruction, though you will surely blame others.
If you do not respect your opponent. If you are contemptuous. If you think you are guaranteed victory. You are a danger to yourself and others. Keep away from me.
If you think you can play with conflict. If you think you are free to torment and antagonize, feel free. Fly to your own folly. I might laugh at your stupidity--if I weren't so busy trying to keep you from dragging me with you.
If you think you can run a conflict remotely. If you think you will not be touched by it. If you think the war is "over there". You are a fool. You will visit evil on your own family. On your own children. Then how you will cry and blame others.
If you think you can avoid conflict. You are equally foolish. There is no escape. It is the air itself. Avoid it if you are able. How long can you hold your breath?
You can not avoid conflict. None of us can. So turn to it, and face it. And learn to manage.
If you can turn an enemy into a friend, this is often the best road to victory. If you can teach their children love, you spare your own.
If you must fight, then do so. But respect your adversary. Maintain your respect, even when they do wrong. And do not underestimate them, even though your craving for confidence tempts you to.
When you fight, if you are winning, remember that a determined adversary will learn and adapt. They will change the game.
When you fight, remember that some day there must be an end to fighting if you are ever to have rest.
Be cautious of your hatred. Be cautious of your contempt. Be cautious of your conduct. Even to your adversary. Because when the day is over. After you have killed your adversary's children, and your adversary has killed yours. You will still need to live together.