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Boundaries Peace (corr EH 11/ 21 /03)

Ernest Hartmann

Paths to Peace

There are two different almost opposite inds of peace and two correspondin! wa"s for nations to ma e peace# There is the $thic %&oundar" peace'( the paradi!m and s"m&ol of which is the wall# )n the e*treme case the two parties literall" &uild a wall to separate their territories# This is the peace which +hina tried to achie,e with its -reat .all' and this is the sort of the peace which )srael and Palestine are sporadicall" wor in! on now# / $thic %&oundar" peace( need not include ph"sical walls# The &oundaries can &e e*pressed in &indin! documents as well as in stone# The fundamental &elief of thic %&oundar" peacema ers is that territor"' ri!hts and pri,ile!es must all &e di,ided and spelled out with the utmost clarit"# $These areas are ours' these areas are "ours# .e will ha,e access to 001 of the water from this ri,er' and 001 will &e "ours' etc#( This is' of course' reminiscent of di,orce a!reements or le!al a!reements &etween corporations# )ndeed the parties for!in! an a!reement followin! a contentious le!al di,orce are ma in! a $thic %&oundar" peace#( The !uidin! principle is that the more clearl" the two sides spell out their territories' interests and concerns' the more solid the peace will &e# 2ust as a wall must &e carefull" &uilt if it is to endure' so must the le!al a!reement# E,er" detail is important# 3olid lines of demarcation are essential# The wall still looms in the &ac !round# Totall" different is $thin%&oundar" peace#( )n its ultimate form' there are no walls# 4i,idin! lines ma" &e present &ut are of little importance# 5e!al documents ma" e*ist' &ut no one pa"s much attention# The essence of the $thin%&oundar" peace( is similarit" rather than difference 6 a !radual reali7ation that $.e( and $The"( are not ,er" different after all# Perhaps we do not need to &e enemies# Perhaps we can tear down the walls and let the frontier !uards do

somethin! more producti,e#( Thin%&oundar" peace in,ol,es the le,elin! of walls# )t ma" in,ol,e unification' mer!er' possi&l" e,en em&race# Those wor in! hard at &uildin! the walls or for!in! a!reements to institute a $thic % &oundar" peace( !enerall" consider what ) call here a $thin%&oundar" peace( to &e a utopian ideal' totall" unattaina&le in the real world# Howe,er this is far from the case# The peace that e*ists at present &etween the ancient enemies 8rance and -erman" is a $thin%&oundar" peace#( 8rontiers are still present' &ut the" are permea&le' eas" to cross# The" do not matter The peace &etween 9assachusetts and +onnecticut is a $thin%&oundar" peace#( There were man" territorial and other disputes in the past' and ):m told there are still &order disputes wendin! their wa" throu!h the courts# But for practical purposes it doesnt matter# /n important distinction &etween the two inds of peace is that in thic %&oundar" peace' e,er"thin! matters intensel"; e,er" s<uare%inch of territor"' e,er" &uildin!' e,er" !allon of water flowin! throu!h the ri,er assumes tremendous importance# Patriots on each side are willin! to la" down their li,es to ma e sure that this particular &it of land will &e $ours( rather than $theirs#( )n a $thin%&oundar" peace'( these issues are not of life%and%death importance# There are alwa"s law"ers <ui&&lin! a&out the fine print' &ut for most of us' the details are onl" details# The &eaut" of thin%&oundar" peace is e*actl" this= it reall" doesn:t matter# >o one reall" cares whether this little field &elon!s to 9assachusetts or to +onnecticut# The two inds of peace' as descri&ed a&o,e' could &e considered se<uential or e,olutionar" phases# The +hinese' after spendin! se,eral centuries &uildin! their -reat .all' noticed that conditions had chan!ed and that there were enemies as well as friends on &oth sides of the wall# ?ther approaches had to &e tried# ?&,iousl"' at a time when two peoples acti,el" hate each other and are at war' differences &etween $us( and $them( seem enormous and u&i<uitous# 3imilarities are hard to find# /t such times the idea of a thin%&oundar" peace is considered farfetched' preposterous' or e,en traitorous' and the &est that can &e accomplished is a carefull" delineated thic %&oundar" peace# Perhaps later' after time has passed and conditions chan!ed' a thin%&oundar" peace can &e considered##

There are certainl" times when a thin%&oundar" peace is onl" a distant hope# But &ein! open at least to a future possi&ilit" can lead to a $thinner( st"le of ne!otiations# The thic %&oundar" stance consists of a&solutes= this is ours fore,er; this is not ne!otia&le; we cannot e,en tal until the" do such%and%such# The thin &oundar" position is that one can alwa"s tal ' one can alwa"s tr" to ne!otiate# .hate,er differences there are &etween us and them are minor compared to the similarities= we are human' we ha,e families' we can suffer# ) &elie,e that e,en at the worst of times it is worth eepin! $thin%&oundar" peace( in mind as a possi&ilit"# Howe,er this is not necessaril" eas"# The ind of peace one en,isions and plans is in lar!e part a ps"cholo!ical issue# 8or some people' thin%&oundar" peace is alwa"s impro&a&le' cra7"%soundin!' and dan!erous# 8or others' it is a ,er" natural wa" of thin in!# There are people who alwa"s tend to thin and &eha,e in terms of thic &oundaries in man" different senses' while others thin and act in terms of thin &oundaries# ) ha,e not introduced the terms $thic &oundaries( and $thin &oundaries( here ad hoc to help us e*amine the <uestion of peace &etween nations# These terms ha,e a histor" in ps"cholo!" as descriptors of personalit"# )n fact' m" colla&orators and ) ha,e &een stud"in! thic and thin &oundaries as a personalit" dimension for a num&er of "ears# To understand this concept' we need to consider &riefl" the <uestion of what we ha,e in or on our minds#

.hen we discuss the content of our minds' most of us use terms such as thou!hts' feelin!s' memories# Ps"choanal"sts spea of id' e!o' supere!o' defenses mechanisms' comple*es# +o!niti,e ps"cholo!ists thin in terms of perceptual processes' semantic processes etc# .hate,er terms we use' we are referrin! to parts' re!ions' or processes that are separate from one another and "et o&,iousl" also connected with one another# The &oundaries &etween them are not a&solute separations= the" can &e relati,el" thic and solid on the one hand or relati,el" thin and permea&le on the other#

)n our wor on ps"cholo!ical &oundaries we ha,e considered a&out 30 t"pes of &oundaries' includin! &oundaries &etween two thou!hts or &etween two feelin!s' &oundaries &etween thou!ht and feelin!' &oundaries &etween states of consciousness' &etween sleep and wa in!' &etween dreamin! and wa in! There are &oundaries related to memor"' &oundaries around one:s self sometimes called &od" &oundaries' interpersonal &oundaries' defense mechanism as &oundaries' &oundaries related to se*ual or a!e identit"' !roup &oundaries# /lso &oundaries related to or!ani7ations and wa"s of or!ani7in! the world' and &oundaries relatin! to our concepts of truth' &eaut"' and !oodness# / <uestionnaire measurin! these t"pes of &oundaries in detail has &een ta en &" o,er 0000 people# /lthou!h man" of us ha,e a mi*ture of &oundaries' the concepts &ecome clearest if we e*amine people on the e*tremes who ha,e ,er" thic or ,er" thin &oundaries in all senses# / person with thic &oundaries o,erall would &e a person with a sharp sense of focus' who easil" concentrates on one thin! while i!norin! others# This person eeps thou!hts and feelin!s entirel" separate ($) don:t let m" feelin!s !et in the wa" of m" thin in!()# This person is a&solutel" clear a&out &ein! awa e' asleep' or dreamin!' with no in%&etween states# Past' present and future are ept totall" separate' ($That was then' this is now()# This person has a ,er" definite sense of personal' indi,idual space' ($This is m" space' this is "ours(); and a clear se*ual identit"# ( $) am a man' "ou are a woman# Vive la difference@() and also a clear !roup identit"# The world is seen in terms of $&lac ,s# white'( $us ,s# them( and $!ood ,s# e,il#( / person with thin &oundaries in all senses is ,er" different# This person tends not to focus on one thin!' &ut lets in a lot of sensor" information at once' ma" e*perience s"nesthesia' will usuall" &e aware of thou!hts and feelin!s to!ether ($ ) can:t ima!ine a thou!ht without a feelin!()' ma" often e*perience states of &ein! half awa e' and will often &e immersed in da"dreamin! or re,erie so the difference &etween dreamin! and wa in! life will not alwa"s &e clear# There will &e a less definite sense of &od" &oundar" and personal space# This person:s sense of the past ma" $&lend( into the present ($):m an adult &ut in so man" wa"s ):m still a child()# 3imilarl"' the person ma" notice mi*tures of se*ual identit" ($):m a man' &ut there:s a lot

of feminine in me too()# He or she will not &e solidl" a mem&er of one !roup' &ut rather an indi,idual ta in! part in man" !roups' or someone who feels li e a $citi7en of the world#( This person will tend to thin in shades of !re" rather than in &lac and white# These' of course' are e*tremes outlined for emphasis# / !ood deal of research has &een completed on ,arious aspects of &oundaries such as what !roups of people ha,e relati,el" thic or thin &oundaries' etc#1 ) will mention a few findin!s that ma" &e of importance for our present discussion# 8or instance' na,al officers' law"ers and salesmen scored si!nificantl" thic er than a,era!e' while se,eral !roups of art and music students scored much thinner than a,era!e on the Boundar" Buestionnaire# .omen consistentl" scored sli!htl" &ut si!nificantl" thinner than men' e,en thou!h all the items were carefull" written to &e !ender neutral# 3tatistical anal"ses demonstrate that the different inds of &oundaries are correlated to a surprisin! e*tent# Each of the 13C items on the Boundar" Buestionnaire has a positi,e relationship with the total &oundar" score' and there are hi!h correlations &etween items which appear at on the surface to ha,e little to do with one another# 8or instance people who stron!l" endorse the item $/t times ) feel happ" and sad at once'( are li el" also to a!ree with $) &elie,e man" of the world:s pro&lems could &e sol,ed if onl" people trusted each other more'( The" are hi!hl" unli el" to endorse $-ood fences ma e !ood nei!h&ors( or $Each nation should &e clear a&out its interests' its own &oundaries' as well as the interest and &oundaries of other nations(# )n other words' the relationships are not random; people who ha,e thin &oundaries in one sense are ,er" li el" to ha,e thin &oundaries in other senses as well# This consistenc" in &oundaries su!!ests that people who ha,e thic &oundaries o,erall will also &e people who thin in terms of thic &oundar" peace' whereas people who ha,e thin &oundaries o,erall will thin more in terms of thin%&oundar" peace# This is supported &" inter,iews with a num&er of those who scored ,er" thic or ,er" thin#

Hartmann' E# $Boundaries in the mind'( Basic Boo s; 1DD1# Hartmann' Harris and E&orows i' $Boundaries in the mind= Past research and 8uture directions( >orth /merican 2ournal of Ps"cholo!"# 3= 3AF%3GC'2001#

) ha,e spo en so far as if &oundaries were a lon! term immuta&le feature of our personalities' somethin! that ps"cholo!ists call a $trait#( Howe,er this is an e*a!!eration# Boundaries can chan!e from time to time' so that thin or thic &oundaries can also &e thou!ht of as a $state'( rather than a trait# 8or instance we all tend to ha,e somewhat thic er &oundaries when we are en!a!ed in a focused' wa in! tas ' such as doin! a mathematical pro&lem# ?ur &oundaries shift toward the thin end when we are in,ol,ed in re,erie' da"dreamin! or dreamin!# 9ore important than these small shifts we all under!o is the phenomenon ) call $the /moe&a Principle#( .hen an amoe&a is threatened' when one of its pseudopods encounters somethin! potentiall" dan!erous' the amoe&a pulls itself to!ether and thic ens its e*terior mem&rane or $s in#( )n other words its e*ternal &oundar" &ecomes thic er in response to threat# ) &elie,e that we react similarl"' &oth as indi,iduals and as societies# .hen threatened' our &oundaries 6 in all the wa"s we ha,e descri&ed them 6 tend to &ecome thic er# 8or instance' since D/11/01' we clearl" ha,e a tendenc" to thin more in terms of $us ,s# them#( Howe,er our &oundaries do not thic en in this o&,ious sense onl"# .e also di,ide thin!s increasin!l" into $&lac ,s# white'( $!ood ,s# e,il'( $ri!ht ,s# wron!#( ?ur laws &ecome tou!her# .e find it more difficult to thin in shades of !re"# 8ollowin! the /moe&a Principle' this should &e a temporar" shift towards thic &oundaries' that ma" re,erse when life &ecomes easier and there is less threat# Howe,er' people or societies that constantl" feel under threat ma" shift more permanentl" towards thic er &oundaries# 8or e*ample' m" impression (&ased on man" inter,iews &ut not on research studies)' is that )sraelis ha,e de,eloped much thic er &oundaries in man" senses than their close relati,es li,in! in Boston or >ew Hor # Because of the consistenc" we ha,e discussed amon! different sorts of &oundaries' it is ,er" difficult for people who ha,e thic &oundaries as a trait or are in a thic &oundar" mode to thin in terms of thin &oundaries# Both thic and thin &oundaries are useful# 3ociet" re<uires the wor of people with thic and people with thin &oundaries# .hen there is an emer!enc"' we re<uire policemen' firemen' and others' who can function rapidl" and perform !oal%directed tas s relia&l" without

distraction# These tend to &e people with thic &oundaries# /t other times we need &roader ,iewpoints' interdisciplinar" thin ers' artists to help us loo at oursel,es and loo at our pro&lems in a new wa"# Isuall" these are people with relati,el" thin &oundaries# )n the &usiness world' a new product or process is often introduced &" a somewhat $far out'( creati,e thin er' perhaps someone with thin &oundaries# But once a compan" is started' and emplo"ees are hired' there is a need for people with thic &oundaries to or!ani7e the compan"' eep in,entor" flowin!' do the &oo % eepin! and so on# This discussion of &oundaries does not pro,ide a solution for the world:s pro&lems' &ut introduces a new approach or point of ,iew# )t is useful to &e aware of &oundaries and differences in &oundar" st"les# The world certainl" needs &oth people with thic &oundaries and people with thin &oundaries# /t times of stress or war' thic &oundaries ma" &e essential' &ut we must at least remem&er and appreciate the importance of thin &oundaries in plannin! for the future )deall"' people with one sort of &oundar" structure should reco!ni7e and appreciate those with different or opposite &oundar" st"les# Howe,er this is often surprisin!l" difficult# ) ha,e found a definite tendenc"' amon! people who too the Boundar" Buestionnaire' to ,alue one:s own st"le of &oundaries and to de,alue the opposite st"le# Those who score ,er" thic on the <uestionnaire descri&e people who share their t"pe of &oundaries as $solid'( $reasona&le( and $relia&le'( whereas the" consider people with thin &oundaries to &e $far out'( $unrealistic( or e,en $fla "#( ?n the other hand' those who score ,er" thin themsel,es characteri7e people with thin &oundaries as $fle*i&le'( $inno,ati,e( and $creati,e'( whereas the" thin of people with thic &oundaries as $dull'( $ri!id'( or $infle*i&le#( # ) ha,e emphasi7ed especiall" the need to appreciate thin &oundaries &ecause ) &elie,e that thic &oundaries are' for a num&er of reason' alread" ,er" prominent in decision ma ers' especiall" !o,ernment and &usiness leaders# Perse,erance' sin!le% mindedness' sta"in! focused on a !oal are all thic &oundar" characteristics# .e seldom

elect creati,e artists or dreamers to hi!h office' nor do the" fre<uentl" &ecome heads of lar!e corporations# /lthou!h ) ha,e not had a chance to stud" man" dictators in detail or as them to ta e the Boundar" Buestionnaire' ) am con,inced that autocratic leaders tend to ha,e e,en thic er &oundaries than democratic leaders# )t is possi&le that women ha,e &een under%represented amon! national and world leaders not onl" &ecause of cultural norms and preJudices' &ut also &ecause' as mentioned' women on a,era!e ha,e thinner &oundaries than men in the man" senses we ha,e discussed# The few women who ha,e &ecome leaders of their nations' for instance 9ar!aret Thatcher' )ndira -handi and -olda 9eir' ha,e &een women with man" thic &oundar" characteristics# Perhaps it is ine,ita&le that leaders will ha,e some thic &oundaries' &ut ) hope the" can learn the importance of &oundaries' and remain open to thin &oundar" people and thin &oundar" ,iews# Thin in! in terms of thic and thin &oundaries can help us e*amine relations &etween nations e,en when it is not a <uestion of a&solute war and peace# 5et us consider one important case of international relations which <uite literall" in,ol,es &oundaries# The Inited 3tates and 9e*ico are at peace' "et there are constant pro&lems at the &order# The standard of li,in! in 9e*ico is much lower than in the Inited 3tates' causin! man" 9e*icans to attempt to cross the &order' fre<uentl" without the proper documents# .hat to doK The approach historicall" fa,ored &" the Inited 3tates has &een the thic &oundar" approach 6 &uildin! walls and &arriers of ,arious inds to &loc or at least reduce and control the flow of immi!rants# People who are used to thin in! in thic &oundar" terms find these approaches necessar" and o&,ious# .hat other wa" could there &eK The onl" <uestion is what sort of walls or controls to use# /n alternati,e approach has &een championed &" the 9e*ican president Lincente 8o*' and on e*amination his is clearl" a thin &oundar" approach# His ,iew is that while the hu!e discrepanc" in li,in! standards remains' there will ine,ita&l" &e pressure to cross the &order' which will &e impossi&le to stop# ?ur efforts should rather &e directed towards minimi7in! the

differences in the standard of li,in!# )f the Inited 3tates' instead of pourin! &illions of dollars into stren!thenin! the walls' were to ma e a similar in,estment on the 9e*ican side of the &order; helpin! to &uild &usinesses and to stren!then the economic climate' this would eliminate or at least !reatl" reduce the pressure of immi!ration and the walls would &ecome unnecessar"# /!ain' the thin &oundar" approach appears prefera&le in the lon! run' &ut it will ta e time to de,elop and some will claim that it is an impossi&le ideal not worth ta in! seriousl"# ?&,iousl" there are numerous practical pro&lems that would ha,e to &e addressed# /ll ) am su!!estin! is that we &e aware of thic and thin &oundaries in oursel,es and in others# )n our ne!otiations and our search for peace' this awareness ma" ma e us more open to all possi&ilities' e,en those we ma" consider $unrealistic( and $far out( when we are in a threatened state of mind#