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In a world of diversity, is it really possible to coexist without conflict?

We live in a world composed of various people, ideas, cultures, etc, which sometimes are locked in a web of conflicting interests, yet it is conventionally expected that peace should reign. Given the reality of the world we live in, is it still plausible to expect peace and harmony?

Topics: society
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    Oct 30 2012: A related question that might have some bearing on the answer is whether people are inclined to coexist without conflict even within communities WITHOUT significant cultural diversity. How much of the conflicts we see have to do with issues like needing to be right or lashing out angrily in frustration at one thing or another?

    People may have a choice to contain their anger at others but some people, I think, enjoy fighting, winning, dominating others...

    I have noticed that many people enjoy a 'them' and 'us' dynamic so much that they convince themselves and try to convince others of great differences that objectively speaking are negligible.
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      Oct 30 2012: I agree Fritzie!
      Many of the conflicts we observe are situations where people need to be right, or are lashing out angrily in frustration. I agree that some people may enjoy fighting, winning, and dominating others. My belief and practice, is, if there are enough people who refuse to fight, and prefer to use conflict resolution, then the "fighters" have no one to fight with. If, as a global society, more and more people learn conflict resolution, I believe it encourages others to use that method, rather than fighting.
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        Oct 30 2012: I would still count it as fighting when an aggressor victimizes those who refuse to fight back or cannot fight back.
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          Oct 30 2012: I count it as fighting too Fritzie. All I'm saying is that I believe it to be possible to resolve our conflicts in a way other than fighting. I believe we can learn from our diversity, rather than fighting against each other because of diversity.
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          Nov 4 2012: Hi Fritzie,
          "I would still count it as fighting when an aggressor victimizes those who refuse to fight back or cannot fight back." You raise excellent points. Aggression and domination are the marks of ignorance.
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        Oct 30 2012: Yes, I doubt anyone would deny that we learn from our diversity in every interaction. What's more, great creative achievements have often arisen at and from crossroads of cultures.

        The question I meant to raise was whether diversity is the actual reason for conflict or rather an excuse for actions motivated by a taste for domination or for 'spoils' unrelated to diversity.
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          Oct 30 2012: Another good point Fritzie!
          I personally do not believe diversity is always the cause of conflict. I have observed some people who live life from a place of anger and fear, who seem to act/react from a need for the perception of domination. These folks will create and/or encourage conflict at every turn. We even see that behavior here on TED at times....do we not?

          I think you insightfully addressed this in your first comment, when you stated...
          "I have noticed that many people enjoy a 'them' and 'us' dynamic so much that they convince themselves and try to convince others of great differences that objectively speaking are negligible."
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          Oct 30 2012: I agree with Coleen it is more about the individual and how they address communication. There are 3 ways of dealing with others.

          The lowest is out of fear and the least trustworthy and most dangerous as there main goal is to render you less dangerous.

          The next higher is out of anger which of course is to stop you.

          The highest is through communication through which you and Colleen are great examples as are many people a stellar example I see is the diplomat on a recent TED talk Rory Stewart.

          Using Rory as an example especially in his first talk:

          http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_stewart_time_to_end_the_war_in_afghanistan.html

          The ability to handle others through communication stems from an ability to look at force without being intimidated. Rory has a lot of this ability, which imo allows him to see the situation as it is. Taking his cue it appears to be a matter of having the ability to stay at a level of communication with someone who wants to deal with you from a view of fear or anger.
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        Oct 30 2012: "it appears to be a matter of having the ability to stay at a level of communication with someone who wants to deal with you from a view of fear or anger."

        I agree with this, Pat. It also helps to know when to walk away.
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          Oct 30 2012: Pat and Fritzie,
          To expand on your comments...

          We can nurture the skills and ability to stay at a level of communication with someone else, AND/OR, I also believe it is a matter of staying with a communication in a way that we, as individuals want to communicate. When someone is communicating with anger and disrespect, which stem from fear, a common reaction is to respond in the same way. We have a choice of getting pulled into THEIR script, or following our own script......so to speak.

          We can certainly have different cultures, conflicting interests and ideas AND still be respectful with our interactions. It is not the differences that cause disrespect and discontent. It is the people who choose to orchestrate their lives in that way, as you both have insightfully brought to light.

          And yes Fritzie, I totally agree that it helps to know when to walk away. That is why I said in a previous comment..."My belief and practice, is, if there are enough people who refuse to fight, and prefer to use conflict resolution, then the "fighters" have no one to fight with".

          How many times do you think people who fight to be right, want to dominate, etc. would continue their destructive behavior if there was no one following their script? Perhaps they might get the idea that respectful communications are much more interesting and enjoyable?
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          Oct 30 2012: Another way of staying at a level of communication is to be cheerful that way you are not a threat so no one feels the need to deal with you. Again Rory is a stellar example of this, especially when he has a conversation with someone who 18 months earlier was trying to shoot him and then asks him the question why did you try to shoot me?, the response it was based on a bet.

          By virtue of the fact that Rory is still alive tells me that he is not aiming for the next Darwin award and knows when to walk, but more importantly knows how to take a calculated risk, which imo is much more important skill.

          This guy is giving an excellent diagnosis of a situation, that we are bombarded with PR about, why we should... all of it based on an agenda. Strictly from a financial point of view but also and more importantly how to do something that I scoff at when Bush talked about it or Obama for that matter. I believe it stems from his ability to communicate and confront to see things as they are.
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          Nov 4 2012: I agree Pat, that another way of staying at a level of communication that is respectful is to be cheerful. Not only is "cheerful" usually respectful, it is also much more enjoyable for ALL participants....unless we are being cheerful when another person wants to be grouchy of course....that really ticks people off sometimes, and that is THEIR issue!
          I'll look at that video you posted the link for.....finally have time to do so today:>)

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