Hi Friends —
The main character in The Anatomy of Peace—Resolving the Heart of Conflict asks whether it makes a difference in a conflict if one side is doing the right thing and the other side is doing the wrong thing.
The given answer is, yes, it does make a difference, but that it is possible, and all too often common, that when we are doing right thing we are also totally ineffective in achieving peace because we are doing the right thing in the wrong way.
I find that answer insightful, particularly so since we are coming up next week on the Martin Luther King holiday. Many people will be speaking about justice and nonviolence. Doing the right thing is justice. Doing the right thing in the right way is nonviolence. The Arbinger Institute is well known for declaring that “Seeing an equal person as an inferior object is an act of violence.” In other words, we can be morally just and immorally violent at the same time.
It was a little over a year ago when I first read The Anatomy of Peace. The book changed my life. It did so by changing what Arbinger calls “mindset” and New Thought calls “consciousness.” Both Arbinger and New Thought have a common mission: achieving peace by raising consciousness. Arbinger and New Thought also have principles. Arbinger’s principles are secular and New Thought’s are spiritual, but I have found that Arbinger’s principles are just as practical as those of New Thought and they are supported by convincing logic, well developed evidence and highly regarded authorities.
As I said in last week’s post, the difference between Arbinger and New Thought is Arbinger’s declaration that our consciousness is far more dependent on our relationships with others than it is about our self-awareness and our self-beliefs. In other words it just may be that our collective mindset, our race consciousness, is more networked than we imagine. And it is possible that we are far more attuned to the thoughts of others toward us than we think.
If so, then that explains the shift in worldview from traditional and modern to postmodern. Generally speaking, self-beliefs are a product of traditionalism (religion) and self-awareness is a product of modernism (psychology). But race consciousness is based on relationships (sociology) and relationships are the main ingredient of postmodernism.
What this means for metaphysics, I don’t know. But, as I said, the outward focused mindset espoused by Arbinger works for me in a way that New Thought’s inward focused consciousness has not been able to do. So I recommend what are called the “Arbinger Principles” to anyone who wants a more peaceful life. You may download a white paper here.
Sunday lesson given at Unity Center of Christianity in Baltimore, Maryland, January 12, 2020.