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by Pat Patfoort

The Theoretical Framework :

Nonviolence and violence both originate in an inevitable human condition which in itself
is not problematic at all: with two or more people there will inevitably be differences
between or among them of characteristics, behavior, beliefs, points of view. The most
common way humans deal with these differences is to use what I call the Major-minor or
M-m model: each tries to present their own attribute, behavior or point of view as better
than the other's. Each tries to be in the right, to score highest, to win. In other words, each
seeks to gain the M-position while putting the other in the m-position.

This Major/minor dynamic has three possible consequences that do violence to those
involved (see fig.1):
- internalization, as the one placed in the m-position does violence to self
- escalation, as we attack the person who puts us in the m-position
- displaced aggression, as the person in the m-position does violence to a third person,
thereby creating a chain of violence.
So the M-m model is at the base of violence. It's the root of violence.

The M-m approach to handling human differences is the most common used one, and at
first sight seems to be the easiest. It is therefore, in most human societies, the one taught
to children and is thereafter reinforced and encouraged in all possible ways in adult life.
Another way, however, to deal with the inevitability of human diversity is with the model
of Equivalence, the E model (see fig.2). This is the model on which nonviolence is based.
This model responds -as does the Major-minor model- to the essential human need for
self-conservation, permitting we who use it to avoid the m-position. The E model permits
us to defend ourselves but not at the expense of the other, not in an aggressive way as
does the M-m model. The E model produces defensive results every bit as real as the M-
m model. The M-m model, however, offers no way out. It locks us into an escalatory

The instruments:

In the M-m model, arguments are stated by the parties in conflict, each using them to put
oneself in the right.

Four important kinds of arguments are used:
1) positive arguments: one presents positive aspects of one's point of view to strengthen
it and move one toward the M-position.
2) negative arguments: one mentions negative aspects of the other's point of view to
devalue it, moving the other toward the m-position.
3) destructive arguments: one cites negative characteristics of the other to disempower
them and their point of view, moving both toward the m-position.
4) glorifying arguments: one says positive characteristics about oneself, to put oneself into
the M-position.

the more the model used will influence them. In following very daily situation we shall illustrate the second channel: a situation between an adult and a child. the process by which one finds it is most important. not arguments. ordering one another. the E model leads us to 1001 solutions. the E model works with foundations. interests. feelings. . she wants to have her hair cut.By contrast. Annemarie is so unhappy with this. finding a solution is predominant. There is a lot of shouting. Three channels through which the models are presented to children: 1) The A-A channel: how adults behave with one another 2) The A-CH channel: how adults behave with children 3) The A-CH/CH channel: how adults regulate relationships between and among children The more either the M-m or the E model is taught to children by way of those three channels. Mother says it isn't so bad. with the E model. She says it is so easy for Annemarie not to have to go to a hairdresser. Every morning there is trouble when Mother wants to brush Annemarie's hair. These elements can be either intellectual-rational or emotional. blaming. she would be less lovely. They are created by understanding all of the foundations of both parties involved in the conflict. needs. trying to convince the other. there are only two possibilities. This process requires to follow a series of steps toward solution (see fig. etc. While with the M-m model. even torturing her. Annemarie is exaggerating. But Mother absolutely doesn't want it. They both are pilling argument on argument. Either I am right or you are. She says Annemarie would be sorry if she would have it cut. We are in a two-dimensional system.3). One of them is about Annemarie's hair (1). With the M-m model. Conflicts between a mother and her daughter: There are regularly conflicts between a mother and her daughter Annemarie (8 years old). each presenting their viewpoint as the good one. Annemarie is saying her mother is hurting her. objectives. Foundations are the reasons why both parties have the points of view they do: the motivations. which emerge from a way of thinking which transcends the two-dimensional restriction. By contrast. values. They are revealed through "Why" questions. They are reproaching. habits. How divergence of opinion is resolved: Disagreement is handled in totally different ways by the M-m and E models of resolving conflict. So there is an escalation between them: each feeling put in a minor-position by the other.

You don't have to go to the hairdresser like I do. it becomes a fight. 3) Another typical thing is that she has a conflict with her daughter to avoid having a conflict with her husband (found.4) but with such escalations and irritation between them. Then Annemarie reacts very strongly: she runs away from home. takes drugs with them.1) by imposing that very experience on her children. And every time they see one another they start again to blame one another. runs into criminality. I don’t like it that boys prefer to 6. looks for understanding and affection with friends Mother doesn't like. Every time they have different opinions. I fear that without that I won’t have 3. in- laws or "society" generally. Annemarie progressively stays away from home more and more. I am proud of my daughter’s gets in the way when I play beautiful hair When we compare the arguments Mother makes to her daughter during the escalation. I would feel good if I could go to was a child and couldn’t a hair stylist as my friends do 2. So when Mother says "It's so easy to have long hair. I am afraid my husband would 4. This often happens to avoid conflicts with parents. She wants to maintain physical contact with Annemarie (found. I don’t like not being able to criticize me and I would have wash and comb my own hair conflict with him over it 5. and tries to forbid Annemarie to see those friends. it contradicts the first three foundations of Annemarie. with those foundations. . stays with those friends. Acting as she is. 2) Something that often happens is happening here too. namely that a parent tries to compensate for something she missed (found. I like to participate in how my play with me because they like daughter looks my hair and my girlfriends get 7. I would feel more accepted if I any more physical contact with my could talk with my friends daughter about it 5. I love to look at it 2. who wants so badly to go! But Mother's arguments even sometimes contradict her own foundations. It's such a chore to go!".Life together becomes more and more difficult for both. we notice: 1) Some arguments contradict certain foundations. I enjoy combing it each day experience and I don’t 4. etc. It’s hard for me to let her decide jealous about her hair 6. I find it difficult when my hair 8.5). their relationship can only deteriorate. I would have liked long hair when I 1. The Alternative following the Equivalence model: What are the foundations of Annemarie and Mother? Mother: I don’t want your hair cut Annemarie: I want to have my hair cut Why? Why? 1. I feel bad that they all have that 3. So Mother again feels put in a minor-position about those friends. Mother is producing the opposite of what she wants and needs.

She can decide to digest some of those. or perhaps cut ever so slightly. 2) For Annemarie's F4: she and Mother could look for ways Annemarie herself could take care of her hair. solutions will arise. 2 and 3: Annemarie might occasionally go to the hair shop without having her hair cut. For instance. Solutions will depend on the relative importance of each foundation.Making the Equivalence model concrete First. Then she will have to work on communicating her foundations to her daughter and on listening to and respecting the ones of Annemarie. Ignoring or denying them will not eliminate them. 2 and 3 are most important to her. They simply exist. We see how a conflict that could last for months and could have very serious consequences. The way this communication will happen will be very important. When all foundations will be gathered. . then an occasional visit to the hairdresser might be the solution. might be quickly resolved by opening ourselves to one another's foundations through Equivalence. 3) Annemarie's F5 and 6: she might wear her hair in a clip or a ponytail so that it disturbs her less. There is nothing wrong in having the foundations she does. particularly the nonverbal ways. if Annemarie's F1. She should accept them without feeling bad or guilty. Some possible solutions that might result from this process are: 1) Responding to Annemarie's F1. Mother should become conscious of her own foundations. They shouldn't be judged. like her first one. All this will require inner strength from her.

9. I often need those documents 5. I am afraid to fall 4. I need to climb on something to reach the needing any object upper shelf 3. I am afraid my collegues will laugh at me if 5. I lose easily my balance become worse 4.patpatfoort. I think I shall not need these documents often Just think of what arguments Carl and Anja could be using instead of the foundations we see here. on the level of education. we need to go in depth and become conscious of what are the foundations of both sides and then communicate on basis of them in an open and respectful way (see fig. I had lots of problems because of that 7. _____________________________ . This can happen from the level of adult-child. like for instance in following example.Peaceful conflict transformation on all levels The transformation we saw in the relation between an adult and a I was raised by my father with a big respect for books 12.3). I think I can reach the upper shelf without 2. can be done on any level. I am tall 1. I feel ashamed when people see paper of me with durty spots 11. interreligious and intercultural level (see for more information and examples on www. I already several times had a fracture they know I have problems with my back 6. I’m short 2. So to realize this transformation we everytime have not to use arguments but foundations. in the relation between two adults (collegues or a couple). I am afraid someone will put a sandwich on the documents 8. I already had problems because people took with them a part of my documents together with their documents they had put on top of mine 6. I think this is durty 10. I hate spots of food or fat on papers. I am afraid if I bend my pain at my back will 3. Carl: “I want to put this pile of documents on Anja: “I want to put this pile of documents on the upper shelf” the lowest shelf” 1. through the one among adults and between groups to the interethnical.

Figure 1: .

Figure 2: .

Figure 3: .