"By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired."
-- Nikos Kazantzakis
As I watched television coverage of B 52 bombers flying "shock and awe" missions over Baghdad, and thought about the terror those who lived there must be experiencing, I began instead to imagine mediators parachuting out by the tens of thousands, ready to bring people together to resolve conflicts and facilitate dialogues. It was a wonderful image that made me smile, but the question I asked next was: "What would we do when we hit the ground?"
At the time, it seemed like a naive, even escapist vision and a futile question.
But as others joined me in exploring this possibility, Mediators Beyond Borders was born. It has now grown into a worldwide network of hundreds of mediators and conflict resolution professionals partnering with local communities on every continent to build conflict resolution capacity. New realities often start as seemingly crazy, utopian, and impossible ideas.
Here are the utopian visions that inspire my work and collaborations:
Mediation dissolving wars based on hostility and win/lose positions;
heart-based explorations replacing oppressive, power-based relationships;
Bridge-building dialogues taking us beyond divisive debates
into creative, courageous conversations;
and every one of us supported to develop the skills and determination
to harness conflicts for our growth and evolution.
Conflict resolution is a fundamental skill, not just for the 21st century, but for the 22nd, the 23rd, and the 24th. It must be part of humanity's future if we wish to live on this planet without destroying each other. We need to think not only about how to build these skills for ourselves, but how to expand them on a much larger scale and build conflict resolution capacity around the world.
And what I mean by that
is a comprehensive, fundamental transformation
in the way we argue, disagree, and resolve our differences as a species.