Siver, S. (2004). Shadows of peace. Paper presented at the Russian Academy of Science Conference on Conflictology sponsored by NATO, April 2004, St Petersburg, Russia.
Patterns found in large-scale conflict are repeated, like fractals, in community and organizational conflict, in interpersonal conflict, and in each of us individually. In a sense, the larger conflict exists holographically within the smaller unit. This relationship parallels concepts from quantum physics, chaos theory, Taoism, and other spiritual and philosophical traditions. On a practical level, conflict resolution practitioners can improve their ability to understand a conflict, to facilitate it effectively, and to transform it by first discovering all of the parts or roles of the conflict and the tensions and feelings that exist between the various parts within themselves. This is often difficult to do because even seasoned conflict professionals tend at times to have difficulty seeing themselves in a negative light, or difficulty in seeing what C.G. Jung called the “shadow.”1 Conflict practitioners can use the laboratory of their own professional and personal relationships to discover these roles and tensions and their associated rank, power, and privilege issues by closely following signals (nonverbal body cues, linguistics, synchronicities, their own sensory experience, etc.) and discovering the deeper meaning and underlying motivations that often lies hidden behind them. In practice, this requires developing an attitude of openness to deep democracy: a belief in the importance of the feelings, experience, and visions of others.