Human beings have been struggling with conflict forever. We are conflicted within ourselves and we engage in problematic conflict with others. Even though we cannot survive alone and need interaction with others to live successfully, we struggle to get along well.
Consider this: Babies who are not held and coddled do not take nourishment and die. At the same time, as soon as they grow up a bit one of their earliest words is “no.” “No” comes right along with mama or da or brr for whatever or bum for bang.
Conflict arises from inter-dependency, boundaries, needs, wants and identification or mere irritation. We have conflicts on individual, familial, societal and national levels. It never goes away and can at times be all around us.
Sometimes it is purposeful and sometimes it is meaningless. Conflict may be suppressed, or it may bubble up or it may become violent, but it doesn’t go away. If it resolved, new conflict eventually sprouts up.
We act out conflict to diffuse it by playing games and organizing competitions where we practice sportsmanship. We create laws, we make alliances, we sign treaties and we hold elections in hopes of averting conflicts that could destroy us. That is the good part of our nature. Happily, so far, we have survived conflict. But now we wonder if the newest conflicts will arise when or if humans confront alien species and we worry over how they will turn out.
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