Conflict as an invitation to dialog.
December 15, 2020
In our culture and upbringing, we are used to looking at conflict as an expression of disharmony, a problem that needs to be solved. Often we experience it as unrelational, cutting, dividing, a barrier towards connection. We connect it to competition, rivalry, and opposition. We are scared of the separations that follow conflict, we have memories about lost relationships, flashbacks to conflicts in our family, deep scars from conflicts we couldn’t resolve, that ended in a loss of connection.
Understandably, given this collective trauma around conflict, we tend to avoid it. As soon as we feel tensions coming up, we move away, we disconnect, we shut down what we feel, ignore our dissonance, suppress our desire, hide our pain. Let's not go there. This will hurt. I don't want to fight. This will threaten the relationship. And so often in our past, this has been true.
Driven by our survival instincts and collective traumas, culturally we have regressed into a fear-based relationship to conflict. Conflict means opposition, so we need weapons made for battle, not instruments made for knowledge. Trying to find safety, we join a group, a camp, and enter the arena. We argue and discuss. The goal is not to find more truth, deeper truth, more inclusive truth, the goal is to win the argument, to be in the right camp. To be right. This is the case in relationships, politics, social media, and everywhere else where fear fuels the polarization of our communities.
From an evolutionary or developmental perspective, this is a huge tragedy. From this perspective, conflict, or, for a better term, contradiction, is the first seed of growth. The birth canal into a higher order of consciousness and complexity. It's the contradiction that exposes the limited capacity of our value systems, knowledge, and consciousness to answer the complexity of our environment. This is where the next evolutionary step will emerge and reveal itself, this is the opportunity for the breakthrough into a more inclusive stage of development. This contradiction carries the tension, the charge, the energy, the power, the potential of transformation, transcendence, and inclusion. The emergence of the higher, more integrated and whole, doesn't happen by solving the contradiction (as in winning an argument), but in holding it, being with it, creating a relationship between the contradictory elements. This relationship is already carrying the new, this relationship is the phenomenon of emergence, the new quality, the higher order of complexity, the more inclusive response to the fragmentation of the kosmos.
If the electron and the proton would have had a discussion about who's charge is better, they would still discuss in an otherwise empty universe. It's consciousness' capacity to hold the contradiction between, that allowed the atom, a relationship between the two, to emerge. A more inclusive entity, more integrated, less divided, more whole. And so the evolutionary journey continues. All the way up, all the way down.
We used to understand this principle of growth. Sokrates, Plato, and Aristotle already used dialects to find higher truth more than two thousand years ago. The goal of this philosophy is to debate thesis and antitheses with an open mind, to find the truth in both, and reveal the synthesis on a higher order of complexity. The dialectical approach is one that embraces conflict, welcomes the potential it brings and acknowledges it as the only source of progress. In these times of uncertainty and struggle, we need not be afraid of conflict but search for it like truffle pigs, as it is the most valuable resource in the universe. The cosmic seed of growth. The potential for change and transformation.
The way out of this dilemma leads through the body. Here it is that we find the safety and the trust to surrender into the unknown, to be with uncertainty, to find the truth in the mystery while holding all the contradictions. The safety to transcend our ways of avoiding conflict and needing to be right. Embodiment is the gate to this self-resourced safety. We need this safety, along with trauma awareness, a capacity to meet our unconscious shadows, deep self-responsibility, and a developmental, integrally informed approach to growth and evolution. We need to set ourselves free from the limitations of our fear of death, so we can engage in deeply vulnerable relationships and intimacy, so we can take leadership over our lives and our own journey of evolution. So we can be love.
This is why I offer the 12-week masterclass on the principles of liberation, love, and leadership. A foundational course on evolution. One step, maybe your next step, on this journey of growth.
Join me on this epic and vulnerable adventure towards an evolutionary, relational, and inclusive way of finding more truth in your life.
Lennart is a growth and leadership facilitator. He explores the edges of individual and collective development through the angles of consciousness, embodiment, and deep ecology using an integral framework of the whole, undivided cosmos.
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