Sunday, October 06, 2013

It Wasn't My Fault

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

Sometimes it’s really that simple to identify a problem

Consider the last fight you got into and see if you don’t agree that it all had to do with not getting your way.  Never mind if your way is right or wrong or even reasonable.  The essence of every argument is the same; you wanted something and didn't get it, so you became upset. 

You wanted to spend the money on a trip; she wanted a new sofa.

You wanted him to park closer; he wanted an easier spot to exit.

You wanted to be trusted; she wanted to be honored.

I tend to watch this healthcare/debt ceiling/government shutdown quagmire from this vantage point.  I tune into all kinds of media outlets looking for an equivalent perspective, but most channels seem to be looking at this in very much the same manner.  Everyone one is asking the same question:

“Who is to blame?”

I think it’s a bad question to start with. Sure, it’s a natural question, and a good one at that, but a solution won’t be discovered by answering it alone without a better inquiry.

Assigning blame is fine when two unrelated individuals collide.   It’s what you do when there is a traffic accident. The police hit the scene, determine who is at fault, write the ticket, tow away the damage and carry on. Blame keeps the two separated; it doesn't bring them together because reconciliation in this case isn't needed. Smooth traffic flow is all you and I and the authorities care about when driving.

Blame works on the highway, but at home, where you want more than just getting and going along, a better solution is required.

Instead, we should start with desire.

Desire is the source of all conflict and it’s imperative to understand it if there is to be any hope of finding a solution.  Without knowledge of desire, Dysfunction will continue to dig in its heels and prevent any kind of progress or growth.

If only our leaders would come to the table genuinely asking to know what each other would like to accomplish, we could maybe get somewhere. But this will never happen because Desire requires vulnerability.  It asks that the fists be dropped low enough to see what’s in the heart.

So we’re left with blame, which is a whole lot safer, but so inadequate for reconciliation.