- Anathema -
In the House - yours or the government's.
In any discussion: what to do.
Learn the skills.
I. Anathema. What is that.
Anathema is a concept originating with the ancient Greeks. It was a positive description, applied to set something apart, as for the gods. That thing was "anathema".
From there, the concept became negative - it led to "banishment" or "exile" and, for us, the negative became extreme because western culture added the curse factor. Anathema! Absolutely not to be tolerated. See FN 1.
II. How to Enter Into Dialogue With Anathema.
China's Terra Cotta army. First Emperor of Qin. Here, in the window. Must they mean warfare?
Here we look at how to set the stage for agreements, despite the perception of "anathema" in the culture or person before you. How does someone achieve that status, as "anathema". Someone called them "evildoer" and it stuck, for example. Whatever the origin, is warfare the best /only long-term solution to the label, to the differences labels signify between people. How to compare merit of values and "who speaks for a deity" anyway.
When might it be appropriate to have such discussions (always, we think), or is it ever (never, say some, digging in).
III. The Scene.
Assume you cannot get away from the viewpoint or person or other "anathema" because you are in a long-term relationship - both have rights to live here. In the house, in the government, in the world. Assume there is no immediate survival-extreme self defense issue involved, that may have justified force to exterminate the anathema. See FN 2.
- You both are stuck with each other. It is ideologies, turf, viewpoints in issue.Anathema happens - in your house; or our collective House, the one of Representatives, or the Senate.
- Suppose members right now in government feel they are faced with Anathema - no way to agree on this violation of their most treasured beliefs, and each desires for eye-for-eye, etc. How can you possibly compromise on the issue, or stay in the company of the person forcing their view, without compromising your deepest sense of self. Anathema. Something so cast out from you, that you banish, it, denounce it, curse it. Was it always this way?
1. Force people into close association until they do come up with an agreement. Like our juries?
The rooms have another purpose: let's say a couple is not getting along and somebody wants out of the relationship. Not just yet, says the community and the clergy. You two just come in this set of rooms here, we'll get your food and see to your needs, and you can't come out of there for 30 days. So we were told.
Bridging Impasse. Can it be learned. Is negotiation an art, or a skill, practiced, honed. Diplomacy as part of the vocabulary of leadership, not a sign of weakness. We used to be able to bull things through, the easy but more temporary way. Ideas always survive, ready to rise up again.
Working through impasse with views you see as "anathema" is possible, but it is not happenstance. Look up the history of the concept of "anathema" -
2.1 Start with discussion in neutral terms.
At least, start on the right foot. No tilts, no slants. Use neutral terminology in your talk, don't get sucked into using a label that you or the other sees as benefiting you, or putting down the other. Talk in neutral terms. Don't let the defenses go up before you begin.
Redefine, reframe the Anathema. Do away with the concept that offends in the area of your discussion.
Semantics can help. Call the position something else that does not shock, shock the other side. Naming. Very important. Without the pejorative, you may have a chance. See The FodderSight, Power of Names and Naming. Call it unclogging credit; call it temporary buyback with profit sharing; call it whatever is needed for both sides not to cringe. Words count.
2.2 Will yourself to enter a dance of sorts, with steps in increments; not a boxing ring.
a. Negotiate only in a controlled setting because we are dealing with primitive rages, perhaps; desires for violence if one's way is not controlling; so keep other eyes away if possible. Agreements are sensitive. Room for quiet, for informal talk, no Big Foot. It is a fragile process: the window of time for an agreement can be blown out in an instant.
In a small space, you have to listen. You are close enough to see reactions, body language, to "read" each other. Imagine you are in that walled room area. You don't get out on Day 5 even if you want to. You have to stay the 30. Finish everything up[. You can bet the issue will be thoroughly addressed.
More on the devastation of Big Foots. There can be no Big Foot if you seriously are looking at bridging serious difference - Big Foot can set a decision for the moment, but the resentments linger on.. FN 3 Skills in addressing the enemy. They can be learned.
b. Appreciate the strengths of your opponent.
Do not underestimate your differences.
Negotiations are hardest between extremes of two basic types of people, and cultures, and religions, and political ideologies:
1) one with a linear approach; security in the controlling approach; and
2) one with a web approach; security in the participatory approach; see FN 3.
The linear person uses a machete to get what he or she wants. Freely. The "web" oriented person hesitates to use a machete, and somehow believes that if he or she just explains better, the other will agree.
No. Nada. See FN 4 on force. The linear types, at the extreme, take advantage of hesitation to use their modes of control. So they use it. For the webs, factor it in, that's all. And learn how to use it yourself because self defense comes in issue. Now.
This concept of the extremes can be seen as Reality One people, the controllers; and Reality Two people, the reasoning persuaders; See FN 2. Many sources identify these kinds of extremes.
c. Defer some issues, if you have to: but within a carefully framed set of expectations.
Agree on a time, place and manner for addressing those issues, and lay out understood parameters to be used at the time. Enter alternative solutions: if this happens, we do that; etc.
Part of the Deadly Dance of Unwilling Partners, because if you don't dance, force rises.
- Stop after you hear someone take a position. Horrid as it may be to your ears.
- Breathe. But do not respond immediately with your own judgment of rejection or even acceptance, or to criticize the position offered, and do not respond with your own position.
- Ask a question so the person can clarify what was said; or so you can communicate your reaction - not with your own idea, but to the one earlier presented.
- Use "I" language - keep out the sneering, accusative "You" that sounds like eeeeeuwwww when drawn out. So - here are some examples - lots of groups teach the techniques, from the "Pairs Foundation," to the "Powerful NonDefensive Communication" people for concepts like these - I feel hurt by, I really resent it when, I suspect, I wonder if, is it right to assume, this puzzles me, I am afraid if this happens, this really frustrates me, I appreciate the thought you put into this, I realize whatever but hope, I would like to see happen something else. If the defensive shields go up, call it quits.
- Repeat the other person's view. "I understand that...." Do this until the other person agrees you have it right.
- Name the person as you address him or her. Jean, I think you.... John, the feeling I get when you say that is ----
- Then ask if the other person is ready to hear your side, and only bother going ahead if they agree. Then the other person has to feed back to you what he or she understood, until you agree both sides are fully understood.
Be sure you heard right
Be able to repeat to them what you think they mean until they say you've got it.
Cheer each other's understanding
Then expect the same courtesy in return.
Narrow where you disagree.
Perhaps a time, place or manner of a approaching an issue can be resolved. FN 4
House and Senate? Gentlemen and Ladies, start your engines. No shortcuts. No Big Foot. No coming out of the wall until you have an agreement. Doing divorce mediation for years was hard work, and we used these techniques. For some, they tell me the process even helped them like each other again. Not to reconcile, probably, but to leave with dignity and a salute. The standard was this: can you see each other again without wanting to throw up. Yes, said some.
FN 1 Anathema's Origins.
Anathema originated in the classics, antiquity, old Greece. It meant an "offering," a process of putting something off limits, setting it apart as sacred, as to the gods. In early Hebrew culture, and some others, the offering idea moved to stress the "set apart" idea of that offering; and became even a banishment, or exile. In more modern usage, the "set apart" or banishment becomes "accursed." Excommunication in some religions, with its own rituals.
We like the Greek approach: the process of setting an issue aside so it can be discussed. That indeed is like unto the gods - it happens so seldom - we prefer Big Foot, FN 2, and down-treading each other. Far more satisfying.
FN 2. People's Views Of Each Other - Where anathemas come from:
- Anathema as Reality One and Reality Two. Watch them see each other as Anathema. Suppose you are a Reality One person, who has to "control." Or who has to have some "One: in Control. In life, says Reality One, one person has to be in control, and that person is entitled to do what is necessary to do it. And the other is a Reality Two person differs - believes not in control in itself, "respect for truth", who believes in the possibility of rational understanding. You may be in trouble if the Reality One person is dyed in the wool, Two. But Ones, if caught in lies and hacking publicly enough, may back away - for the time being, to get back the control later, probably. See Irene Papoulis at Trinity College, Hartford Courant Op-Ed 9/18/08. Concepts of people being Reality One and Reality Two.
- Anathema as Machete or Linear People, and Web People. We have used a similar analogy in practicing divorce law and mediation - see broadly that there are machete people, or linear people; and web people. .
For the machete or linear persn person, life is a line, hack however you need to, to get ahead and stay there because your security is a place on that line. Rigidity is good for lines. Think also pyramids. Step over those below to get to the top, and it is very vulnerable there. And there is one way there, even if you are in front.
For the webs, security is in the center of a web where you duck back and forth to make all the strands strong - family, job, all that. If one strand weakens, however, unlike the linear person who is in real trouble and thinks of no place to go except to be forced off the line into the abyss, you have choices - you can go straight across, or if that is blocked, around. Flexible.
Use of Force and Anathema. Out-dated. Dysfunctional, unless applied in situations of extreme and immedate actual survival self-defense need. Then, wipe 'em out. Is that so? For those in long-term relationships, however,"overcoming" another, who is also in that relationship, is archaic.
Annihilation efforts waste resources: It takes time and money and energy -
2) perpetuating the demonization so you can continue to prevail; and
3) while knowing deep inside that you are largely posturing, and you just might be wrong -
a) in your ideas or
b) how you are going about getting what you think you want.
Force is hard on you, hard on them, and won't work without destroying much of both sides.However, it is addictive, and once learned, even decades ago, it may not loose its hold without extensive deprogramming.
The objective in force is compelling -- and, at its extreme, to annihilate the other's ability to act other than you want, even ever again.
More Big Foot. That Big Foot approach seeks to triumph over the will (see Leni Reifenstahl's 1937 film of that name) of another, even though that will may well have merit in itself. Someone interposes himself or herself into a process with a view to shaping it his way. Old military people are so in the habit of it, that they know no other set of steps.
Recognize it in its extreme by Sturm und drang. Shock and Awe. It does destroy, but more than you may have intended, or is in your interest. Big Foot force destroys the home - divorce lawyers and mediators and judges know that, as do many spouses; and it can destroy a government. In both situations, people will need to live with those other people over time.
Is this the lesson: Do not try to "overcome" without that extreme circumstance. Even force against children can come back to haunt you, if it moves beyond an immediate protection or clear behavior deterrent need, and "destroys" instead, over time.
Have machetes worked before? Sure, for a while. Machetes are addictive. But Ideas survive. Do we learn? No. So, like generations before, use your linear ideology as a weapon If you are not in a long-term relationship with that Other view, just kick it out of your way. But if you are in a long term relationship - even in the sense of sharing a planet, be careful. Ideas survive, and come back to bite.