Understanding Conflict

Face to Face

Not all conflict is violent - some conflicts are settled peacefully

Conflict is a process that develops from previous interactions.

Conflict arises when opponents act, or are judged as having the potential to act against one another.

War is a state of armed conflict between different nations, or groups within a country.

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”
~ John Steinbeck

How Conflict Begins

Conflict begins when a person or group pursues action which results in disadvantage (physical or psychological) to another person or group.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Conflict can arise as a result of disagreements over resources, injustice, power, identity, status, or values (systems of government, religion, or ideology).

Conflict is rarely constructive, however moderate levels of conflict can be viewed as beneficial, for example competition in sports or games.

How Pacifism Can Prevent or Stop Conflict

Pacifism seeks to resolve violent conflict through peaceful means, and in particular through the force of communication in all its forms.

Language is at the heart of what it is to be human. Language is not passive, it creates laws, builds alliances, and provides a means to understand the world of others. It is what forms our great cultural, religious and political accomplishments, and is what has and will continue to be the primary tool that humans use to change the world.

I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of the curriculum, the indispensability of inner values: love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness. ~ Dalai Lama