On October 20th 2006 while listening to American Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck read from his book on tape entitled A WORLD WAITING TO BE BORN: CIVILITY REDISCOVERED, an email from International Mediator Bill Lincoln came down the super highway to announce the formation of the International Coalition of Concerned Mediators [ICCM]. Lincoln included this comment from Associate CRI Director Polly Davis: “The Mediators Statement and birth of the International Coalition of Concerned Mediators initiative emphasize that we need to bring civility back into our negotiation and conflict resolution discussions.” A few days later, Nancy Pelosi, who was soon to be the first woman speaker of the house, promised new civility. Synchronicity occurs when meaningful events happen simultaneously, according to Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung.
Roget’s Thesaurus suggests synonyms for civility to be courteous, accommodating, diplomatic and polite. Peck states that civility is about conscious intention and how we humans relate to each other. He records that he wrote this book about civility, “…as an attempt to resurrect and re-define the meaning of civility. This is necessary for the healing of society.”
Narcissism is the primary cause of lack of civility, according to Peck. He states that we are all born narcissistic and usually grow out of this unconscious state if our upbringing is balanced and our primary needs are met. Peck suggests that narcissism is a thinking disorder, manifesting as people who cannot or will not think beyond their needs. For the narcissist, simply walking in another person’s moccasins is not possible unless they awoke from this unconscious state.
While playing the role of mediator, narcissistic behavior appears on many fronts. A party may deny his or her inappropriate behavior, be unwilling to shift his or her position or even refuse to negotiate. President Bush chose not to negotiate about war with Iraq. His agenda was set, with position fixed. Now more than 3,000 Americans and their allies have died. At least 150,000 Iraqis are dead. The count is rising daily. Howard Zinn, legendary historian and peace activist, states that in wars today, 85% of the people killed are civilians; 1/3rd of whom are children.
Psychiatrist Peck approaches civility with the intent to bring about healing. Concerned mediator Davis states the need to bring civility back into negotiations. Politician Pelosi hopes to counter aggressive behavior with civility. International mediator Lincoln urges global leaders to engage in effective negotiations. These challenges require civility on all fronts.
Speaking of healing, intent and relating, it is encouraging to note that as of November 2006 more than 800 mediators from 33 different countries had signed the Mediators’ Statement to be a part of “urging that community, national and global leaders engage effective negotiation and mediation approaches.” For a progress report about the International Coalition of Concerned Mediators [ICCM] and to make a donation go to www.concernedmediators.org
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