MNv Openings


In MNv, two complimentary positions are placed in tension in order to find the ideal configuration for a conflict process. It is helpful to imagine that the persons currently engaged with each other are the perfect combination to find their way to an authentic outcome. After all, nobody but the people in conflict could be a more expert voice to express the issues involved.


It is also helpful to consider whether adding or subtracting persons might be an experiment worthy of exploration. For example, when two people or groups are locked into the idea that one or the other will need to give up or fail for the other to "win", then a third party might make a positive difference by bringing in alternative ways to proceed, especially if they practice a process art and are a willing and able facilitator. On the other hand, a group of different interests might gain clarity about a complex issue by voluntarily reducing the voices to one or two, and then alternating which one or two is empowered by the group to speak.




One of the primary questions in beginning a MNv process, whether it is an intervention or an agreed upon co-creation, is environmental. Where are we, what does this place "need" in the sense that a place has its own history/narrative/way of being which affects the way our interaction may proceed? In a kitchen one might be more likely to cook than in a mausoleum. It might be more difficult to work toward a peaceful community in a military tank than on foot alongside a group of unarmed companions.


In most situations, the practice of Martial Nonviolence includes the presupposition that, even in the most diffiuclt situations, the participants are learning about conflict together. The MNv process is best imagined as an ideal classroom, an ordered environment of shared inquiry in which participants may consciously take on and also put aside archetypal roles (teacher, student, guide, colleague, administrator, etc.). This is a conscious choice to propose this as a shared point of view, which is not propaganda because it is an open/overt proposal which may be shared by each participant who so decides. Everyone may not immediately accept the context but those who do do so openly and remain open to the validity of other ways of being.


For example, as an intervention context may play a part in the following way. Imagine a six year old child in the process of treating another child as she is accustomed to being treated at home--in this case perhaps a rough physicality which can range from the playful to the violent but, whatever the case, does not seek consent before engaging. Rather than saying "don't do that", the Tori (person proposing a change) might invite the child to notice that they are in a classroom and ask for a refresher on the agreements which govern such a place. In this way the environment reinforces the rules of engagement which are different for each participant in other contexts.


It can be equally useful for an adult in a tense situation to privately locate their responses in a learning context, as long as they can do so without condescension. This can allow for the modeling of authentic responses without the need for dominating another imagined as an opponent.





Content and design copyright Brandon WilliamsCraig ~ Wheeled by Wagn v. 1.18.1