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Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future

Chapter Six: The Future Human

Section 14: Reciprocal Interests Resolutions

 

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 Japanese Folk Dance performed by Shamisen Yasuragi Kai at the Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival, April 26, 1998.

 

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Better long-run resolution strategies are possible, especially when the opponents recognize a reciprocal interest in each other's well being.

 

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This reciprocal interest ideally arises when the parties identify with and care for each other -- as with friends. Short of this, reality may impose a reciprocal interest; for example, two antagonists may need each other to ward off the threat of a third, more powerful, antagonist. To be viable, a society must impose such reality constraints, e.g., by imposing sanctions on uses of excess force, as well as by providing nonviolent means of resolving conflicts (civil and criminal legal actions are examples). This mutuality simply may be a recognition by both parties of the value of "peace" (as defined by Roger Fisher). In many systems, especially families, both caring and reality contribute to the existence of reciprocal interests.

 

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When a reciprocal interest exists, compromise may be a better resolution than all-out victory. If there is caring, compromise will not even feel like much of a sacrifice. Effective communication may help define the competing interests so that they may be creatively realigned into a more synergistic relationship. Thus, creative conflict resolution may result, not in compromise, but in both parties substantially achieving their original objectives.

 

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Several approaches may be used to achieve compromises and more synergistic solutions. If the opponents cannot work problems out themselves, various third party interventions may help. Some of these, in order of increasing power on the third party, are: counseling, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication. Whatever techniques are used, it is desirable that the parties not only resolve their conflict, but also emerge more willing and able to resolve disputes independently of such mechanisms in the future.

 

 

 

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