Hal Pepinsky, email@example.com, “peacemaking” at Pepinsky.blogspot.com
January 17, 2014
In my country, the supreme authority in all social control contests is ownership. In law school, the first-year student learns to substitute a polite word for ownership, “property.” The law is all about who owns the superior right to do or not do something; it is all about regulating property interests.
In theory, government is our supreme determinant of ownership, but the fact that disputes keep landing in courts and administrative bodies proves that making a judgment “final” is a legal fiction as long as competition for greater ownership reigns culturally supreme. In and around courts, the saddest experiences I have had have been bearing witness to contests over who owns children of estranged parents. In daily life, the greatest barrier I face to transforming competition into cooperation, or “peacemaking,” is attempts to restrict who gets to repeat what someone else has said or written, known as issues of “intellectual property,” privacy, and confidentially.
Peacemaking or mediating among competing sides entails, as in the victim-offender mediation I did as in international relations, letting go of attachment to outcome, where outcome is defined as who has which rights and obligations to give others their rights to control the realm of action and of what happens to the stuff one owns.
Openness, trust, and honesty are found when our empathy for ourselves allows us to let go of urges to identify, protect and defend what we own. Love and peace, hal