Conflict Resolution

Advaita Vedanta philosophy propounded by Sri Sankaracharya is an influential philosophy in Indian subcontinent and abroad. (I am not giving a detailed description here). But it describes about 3 levels of existence like

  1. Prāthibhāsika (Apparent reality / sometimes referred to as dream state)
  2. Vyāvahārika (waking state)
  3. Pāramārthika (absolute state)

An example could be used to understand them; a tiger is attacking you in a dream. It is very much real when you are in that stage. But when you wake up, you realize the tiger was unreal. So like that Sankara speaks of 3 stages of existence as mentioned above where the degree of reality/truth improves as we go up. Whatever is true in first stage is only true (real) there; whatever is true in 2nd stage is true(real) in 1st and 2nd stage. Whatever is true in the 3rd stage is true (real) for all stages. For Sankara, brahman (Absolute) is only true in the final stage. (I am not interested in commenting on the this theme here, but what it can teach us)

When there is a conflict between two countries/groups/persons and you are looking at the situation from either of the side, you will see many things as real/true. But when you try to stand outside that and see the picture, you will able to see the reality a little more clearly and such an approach can help to solve the problem. One critique could be problem cannot ignore the context in which the problem originated. When this has to be taken into account (we are becoming aware of it more now), we can’t solve the issue by being in the problem and seeing from one-side. We could take the help of connecting identities to settle the conflicts.

When we see around the world, the conflicts between countries and ethnic groups are abounding. (I agree that many of the conflicts are a fight between the have’s and have-not’s, a fight against injustice). But the solutions proposed by the leaders within (who have the guts to give an outsider view) are not appreciated by the crowd as they are not able to assimilate that view.

1.jpgOne of the models, Ignatian spirituality provides is through spiritual conversation. The both parties are invited to hear from others with an openness and the experiences have shown that the people on both sides are calmer, sparks reduce and they can come to a decision (A perfect unanimity may not happen, still…). Now this may not be completely possible between countries. But a conscious efforts by leaders to give a top-view of the problem, so that people get a brief understanding of the other side too and this will help.

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