Whether or not you win a conflict, something will have been lost.
I have written a series of articles about a Pig, a Salesman and a Snob. Who happens to be one and the same person. He is also a bully who needs to get his own way at all costs. The bully has been thwarted but he keeps on coming back for more. Like a punch drunk boxer he is determined to remain in the ring, determined to keep punching despite the pointlessness of his endeavors.
He has been held at bay. His bullying has lead him nowhere except to destroy relationships all around him. And do the “victors” feel any better?
There are no victors in conflict. No victory can be obtained in this petty conflict nor the Armageddon of nations at war. Ruined lives are the inevitable result of conflict. There has to be a better way of resolving our differences than anger. Anger can so easily and so often does escalate into physical violence.
In petty domestic situations, the police may eventually have to be called upon to stop the Pig harassing his neighbors. In international politics, disagreement usually leads to missiles, tanks and occasionally poisoned gas if you happen to be an unlucky Marsh Arab. Or Jew.
How can we behave better? How can we bring ourselves back from the brink?
In the case of the petty dispute between two of my neighbors, I am suggesting arbitration. Passing the whole sorry matter over to a third party and letting them decide the rights and wrongs. But of course both sides will have to agree to be bound by the decision and to enter arbitration proceedings in the first place. Let us hope that the Pig sees the good sense in this solution.
It matters not who “wins” and who “loses” since lives will have been wrecked or lost in the process of the battle. In the international arena, six million Jews will have been wiped out, or a race of Marsh Arabs. In the domestic setting, two sisters have been torn apart and seem unlikely to speak again.
It doesn’t really matter who is at fault. People suffer. The Pig is suffering too. Grossly overweight and bombastic, he has a weak constitution. He is a veteran of war with neighbors, he wields his mighty cosh with pride. But win or lose, the Pig has caused devastation all around him. His mighty will has been challenged and he stands on the top of his heap issuing hollow threats.
If the Pig finally admits defeat what then? Will anyone feel any better? Will the world be a better place? Will either sister feel any happier? Will anything worthwhile have been achieved?
I would venture that the answers to all of the above are “no”.
Or perhaps I have no Viking blood? Perhaps some still worship Thor and the gods of war? Perhaps to some conflict is glorious and victory, Pyrrhic or otherwise, is worth the sacrifices involved?