The important question is always, why?

Wayne Weedon
Food for Thought

If I find one of my friends is in a physical fight with another man, and I hand my friend a knife which he uses to kill his opponent, Canadian law will find me partially to blame for that man’s death. I had supplied the weapon. Does this law extend to international fights? If two countries are at war and I supply weapons to one of them, would I be partially to blame for the death and destruction those weapons cause? That depends on who wins the war. Historically, International Justice considers “Might to be Right”. 

For thousands of years, we, as individuals, have been a trinity, commonly described as Mind, Body, and Soul. The noted psychiatrist, Eric Berne, in his book, Games People Play, refers to this trinity as Child, Adult, and Parent. Parent does the worrying, trying to look for everything that could go wrong. Adultthinks rationally and makes decisions based on logic. Child is out to have fun with no consideration for tomorrow and no regrets for yesterday. If someone receives a large windfall, Parent worries about being robbed or spending the money foolishly. Adult will try to be practical, suggesting investing the money or paying down a debt. Child wants to have fun, possibly proposing a party with beer, chicken, and pizza. Some of your friends will advise you to hand the money over to them to be safely looked after. Remember, if you do not decide, that is a decision. 

Child is influenced by promises of pleasure, Adult by reason, and Parent through fear. Most people have a well-developed Child and an under-developed Adult. Politicians appeal to Parent’s fears and Child’s self-centredness. Politicians have learned how to manipulate Child and Parent through promises of fun, and fear of things that may happen. Politicians usually ignore Adult, while offering bread to Parent to satisfy fears of going hungry, and circuses to Child, to satisfy desires for amusement. 

Schools, in general, develop Child while stifling Adult. Schools teach the art of war while ignoring the art of negotiation. War is a Child game while rational negotiation is an Adult activity. Many leaders are like Caesars and Napoleons, putting across that they are infallible gods. Andrew Jackson, the childish military “hero”, was sometimes referred to as Saint Jackson, the defender of Whites. Rather than negotiate conciliation, Jackson killed a man in a duel, putting on a display of how macho he was. 

The United Nations originally had a mandate of negotiating peace and preventing war. However, the UN has a history of not negotiating, but giving out threats of violence and repercussions for not complying with their demands. 

The art of negotiation mandates, Adult must speak directly to Adult. There can be no childish rampages like the ones which commonly occur in our House of Commons.

1. Each party must present, in writing, what their demands and requests are.

2. Each party, in turn, must verbally answer the most important question in any negotiation, “Why”. Why do you believe you deserve that? Why do you think that is fair and just? They must justify all of their requests, and while they are doing this, nobody is allowed to interrupt. 

3. The second party must wait until the first party has defended all of their requests before they take their turn to do the same. 

4. Each party, again with no interruptions, taking one of their opponent’s requests at a time, states why they do not agree with their opponent. 

5. Each party, again with no interruptions, gives rebuttals to all items. All through this, the question “Why?” is always addressed. Why do you not agree? Why do you view this as unreasonable?

6. Rebuttals go back and forth for as long as it takes to come to some form of agreement. 

Such negotiations, if carried out in an adult fashion, always end up with some form of give-and-take arrangement, as each party realises the unreasonableness of some of their requests and demands, and that some of their opponent’s requests are legitimate. Items, one at a time, fall off the table, and the two parties eventually realise that their differences are not that great. 

The big question of the day is, how can we get adults voted into power, rather than children? How do we get leaders who are willing to be reasonable, and negotiate in good faith? One suggestion is that voters need to make decisions through rational thought. These decisions must come from their Adult, not their emotional Child, or their fearful Parent. That is food for thought.

Some books written by Wayne Douglas Weedon may be downloaded free of charge, in various formats, at https://archive.org.