Role of Conflict

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
Pres. John F. Kennedy

“All polishing is done by friction.”
Mary Parker Follett

“Every fight is one between angles of vision, illuminating the same truth.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Anger so clouds the mind that it cannot perceive the truth.”
Cato the Elder

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”
Albert Einstein

“People developed the ability to speak out of a deep-seated need to complain.”
Lily Tomlin

“We survive and progress as much by competition as we do by cooperation.”
Richard Friedlander, UCLA

“The play of conflicting interests in a framework of shared purposes is the drama of a free society. It is a robust exercise and a noisy one, not for the faint-hearted or the tidy-minded.”
John W. Gardner, founder, Common Cause

Two Wolves:
An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good —he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith,” he said. “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Excerpt from The Source by James A. Michener (from pp. 610-611), exemplifying people’s sometimes perverse-seeming preference for litigation over negotiation:

Frederick the Second, Holy Roman Emperor and crusader with extensive knowledge of Muslim ways, surveyed conditions in the Holy Land and decided it would be a waste of manpower to fight the Muslims. Instead, in a series of shrewd negotiations he arranged a truce in which the Christians got everything they had been fighting for — control of the three holy cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, with corridors leading to each, plus protection of Christian pilgrims, plus ten years of guaranteed peace.

“Few Crusaders — no matter how large their armies or their stacks of bezants — had ever gained more.

“And in light of this accomplishment, how was Frederick the Second regarded by the crusaders?

“Frederick’s peaceful negotiations so outraged the knights who had been fighting for a cause that they openly reviled him. ‘A true knight should not capture Jerusalem without a battle,’ they raged. ‘We should have killed every Muslim in the city.’ Others contended that they should have laid waste the countryside and taken many slaves. ‘God’s blood! We should have marched like men and had an honest clashing of swords.’ So impassioned did the outcry become, that when the crook-backed king scuttled out of Acre, citizens lined the streets and threw pigs’ guts at him and cursed him. At one corner they even threw slops over him, for he had done what no leader is allowed to do: by negotiation he had achieved the national purpose, but in doing so had cheated the citizens of an exhilarating war, and for this he could not be forgiven [emphasis added].”