Common steps and sub-activities

Peacemaking and diplomacy

Peacemaking and diplomacy are both the resolution, without hurt, of conflict and aggression - both Threats.  It is an action which can be used in the face of anger and aggression from another or others at a personal and group level.  It should be used by nations, surely by now we have no need for war, we should surely have understood this by now.

Instead of immediate reaction, ‘knee jerk’, one says nothing and does nothing initially, but instead considers and weighs the arguments for or against and bides one’s time before saying anything. 

Whatever is said must involve no hurt, no personal remarks or judgements.

It does not mean saying nothing.  It means that whatever is said is fair and not with a selfish motive.  No one wins arguments in reality.  If you argue with someone and they eventually give in after some time of high emotion and pain, you have not won, you have lost, because within them they harbour the memory of the hurt and humiliation.

No one wins wars either for the same reason.

You are trying to avoid hurt and avoid high Emotion by calmness and reasoned argument.  The intellect is at work, to see you through a difficult moment which has the potential to escalate to a far worse situation.

Background

The I Ching calls this Song.

Jesus specifically mentions it:

Matthew 5:8-12 (New International Version)

 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Plato thought it a good idea:

Plato Protagoras

Hippias the sage spoke next. He said: All of you who are here present I reckon to be kinsmen and friends and fellow-citizens, by nature and not by law; for by nature like is akin to like, whereas law is the tyrant of mankind, and often compels us to do many things which are against nature.

How great would be the disgrace then, if we, who know the nature of things, and are the wisest of the Hellenes, and as such are met together in this city, which is the metropolis of wisdom, and in the greatest and most glorious house of this city, should have nothing to show worthy of this height of dignity, but should only quarrel with one another like the meanest of mankind!

I do pray and advise you, Protagoras, and you, Socrates, to agree upon a compromise. Let us be your peacemakers. And do not you, Socrates, aim at this precise and extreme brevity in discourse, if Protagoras objects, but loosen and let go the reins of speech, that your words may be grander and more becoming to you. Neither do you, Protagoras, go forth on the gale with every sail set out of sight of land into an ocean of words, but let there be a mean observed by both of you. Do as I say. And let me also persuade you to choose an arbiter or overseer or president; he will keep watch over your words and will prescribe their proper length.

This proposal was received by the company with universal approval.

It is part of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold path involving ethical conduct.

Method

When faced with aggression or anger, always respond with calm and reasoned argument based on the situation and the problem, not the person.

Never attack someone personally – whether verbally or physically.

Keep your voice even and quiet, never raise your voice in replying.

Think first and think carefully about what has been said [avoiding the emotion attached to it] and the grievance the person appears to have.  Think about the logic of what they have said.  If you do not understand the grievance ask for clarification. 

If they have a point then concede the point, if their reasoning is wrong, then use reason to help them see they are wrong.

Do not seek to ‘win’ or ‘lose’, simply seek to be fair.

How it works

It may appear that one is doing the opposite of what is needed to have spiritual input by using your intellect and reason to counteract a severe Threat , but the Threat exists and you have to find a way of counteracting it in such a way that the Emotions are kept calm [suppressed] and the situation does not escalate. 

This is thus a technique for use when a Threat rears its ugly head and you wish to stay calm. It thus works via suppression and is used in concert with all the other techniques – part of the overall armoury of this form of approach.

Observations

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