(a) the importance of free will (violence is imposition of one person's will on another, which can be done by words as well as deeds), and
(b) most people grow better with NV - not necessarily peace, though, as they may need a challenge (and some people CHOOSE to learn the hard way: if they do, that is their right, and you have no right to be upset on their behalf).
A form of communication has been developed which is aimed at honesty, avoiding judgements and looking after oneself and, as a result of doing so, being able to look after others more effectively. The communication style is called "Non-violent Communication" (which I am going to abbreviate to NVC for the rest of this post). Before you go further, please go to the website at http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/index.htm, and have a browse.
* plays elevator "musak" for a few minutes while you browse *
Overall, I think NVC is quite good (well, brilliant, in many ways) - and it has been around for something like half a century, so I think it has stood the test of time, although it clearly hasn't taken off in a mainstream way (hasn't taken off in a mainstream way "yet", perhaps?).
Despite my ranking of it overall as being "good", I have a few concerns about it that I wish to touch on in this blog post.
- Firstly, and this is a trigger reaction of mine, this is similar in style to past experience of mine with a manipulative drama queen who believed in something that was, in effect, akin to radical honesty (and on that, I always note the character on the TV series "Lie to Me" who began as someone being radically honest but eventually learned that white lies have a purpose in some cases). Whilst it may be my past reaction coming out, I am concerned NVC could be - or could too easily used to be - selfish. Having made that point, however, I must acknowledge that NVC has an element of seeking intimacy that wasn't present in my previous ... "encounters". This concern leads me to also ask (and I am not far enough through their material to answer this):
- Will adherents to NVC respect people's possible desire not to be intimate (e.g., for workplace applications of these techniques)?
- Do the needs listed include solitude, and the need for physical exhilaration - which is also a valid need for some? (On that, I recall a young boy who apparently thrived when playing footy despite his mother being paranoid about "competition" and thus keeping him out of that for some years - and it was the mother who told me about that, by the way)
- Do the NVC people make the fundamental and fatal mistake of trying to claim some things are universal? (I think yes on this count, sadly - and I write "sadly" because NVC has an enormous amount of potential.
Now, as a digression and a sweeping generalisation all in one, it seems to me that the first people to introduce something have to be fairly fanatical in order to jolt most others out of their lethargy, and but then, after the first generation of practitioners/adherents, a more realistic version of whatever the philosophy is evolves. As an example, consider the struggle for equal rights of women in the mid-20th Century, where some women (yes, they called themselves by the "F" word - Feminists) campaigned for equal power sharing - half for men, half for women, and were met by the response of some men "well, we think around 1/3 of power could go to women, but we'll keep 2/3". In response, they campaigned for "all power to women", and then the retards (my pejorative and judgemental label) said "whoa! well, half and half is better than that so OK." (Of course, that struggle still has to happen in too many places of the world ... and currently Australia seems, to me, to be in a backlash phase to the gains of the late-20th Century for women's rights, so we haven't reached the final stage of that particular issue yet ... maybe in another 50 years ... ).
- Secondly, emotions are a great tool for the soul to learn and evolve, but they are not the purpose of existence (I've added a new saying on this to the "provoke a reaction" section of my signature block to express this). I consider that NVC inherently acknowledges this, in that it pursues a goal of NV - which is a mental concept, not an emotion.
On that, in my world view love is more than "just" (note the emotive qualifier? :) ) an emotion: it is a way of living, a way of expressing the self, and includes honouring one's duty to those one loves. That may mean at times doing things one doesn't like - such as working to pay the bills, rather than pursuing one's heart's desires. (On that point, I am thinking of situation where one has young children - and they are NOT such a joy that it "makes it all worthwhile" ... anyone who claims that is naive and lacking in life experience! If the situation involves only adults, well, that's a different kettle of fish, and NVC type principles deserve to be applied by all.)
- Thirdly, NVC seems to assume expressing emotions (including identifying what part of the body an emotion is affecting) is the "only" (perhaps "best" is a better word) way to resolve things. Now, when I was bullied as a child, the bullies made it very clear they knew what they were doing, so I have long considered the current fashion of getting victims to talk to bullies about how the victims are feeling a complete and utter waste of time - and, in fact, it is something that FEEDS the bullies and therefore is extremely irresponsible. Working on solely verbally expressing emotions is, in my experience (I first started doing work like this over two decades ago, by the way), at times, unsatisfying and downright useless - it is good for people who are verbal, but useless for those who are physical or mental. Physical people may need, for instance, to run out their emotions, and mental people to meditate on their emotions. The concept of dealing with emotions through talking doesn't cater for all people - which is a criticism of other counselling techniques as well. Still, I think that, over time - particularly if more people speak up as I have just done, better versions of these tools may be developed.
- Next we come to the issue of unevenness of skills. Someone with good verbal skills using techniques like this on someone who isn't equally as skilled is AS VIOLENT as someone who punches another person - I've buried people who were driven to commit suicide because of words, and have long considered the statement that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will only hurt me to be an absolute nonsense - in fact, criminally stupid. Sadly, I have seen a lot of this, and strongly consider that there needs to be a "level playing field". It goes just as much for those who are fighting against discrimination, who tend to be more gifted with words (such as myself - and I feel comfortable enough with words to have a blog), as for those who are discriminatory.
On that, one story I read in some NVC material concerns me. The author is laying in a room when a friend comes in and says she wants to speak to him; he comments on her tone of voice and says he feels fear and wants to lay looking at the ceiling as a result. I actually consider the person concerned could have expressed their feelings better, much better. And, looking at it from the point of view of the friend, if someone came to me after speaking that way, I would quite possibly have had my trust in them damaged to the extent that I wouldn't talk to them until they had - over some time - re-established their position of trust.
The story reminds me of a situation where someone wanted to get a "be heard" group going about problems in a group, to facilitate healing. I haven't replied as I have no need to express myself to most of the people in that group (I have to one already): I've already talked about it to the people I trust and want. Furthermore, I felt there was a bit of a bias towards expecting that attendees of that little group would choose to continue to be involved in that community afterwards. I had already decided to leave that community, so that bias - and I may have been wrong - was off-putting.
- An issue I will have to grapple with as I work through the materials (and I am just beginning) is how selfish/spiritually immature some of this approach may be. That's largely my personal button, but I may post more if I think it is relevant ...
- Finally, we have the issue of reality. People need to pay the bills, rent and buy food, etc. This is not as imperative as when we were gatherer-hunters, but there are still some basic survival things, and those needs can overwhelm this. If one looks at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs , http://gnwmythr.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/changes.html and http://gnwmythr.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/maturity.html), I consider the tools of NVC range from Social up to Self-Actualising, but there are still the basic physical needs for food, water and shelter that need to be met, and for millions (probably billions?) of people in the world, aren't being met. If I had a starving child, I really wouldn't give a hoot about how I talked to people, I would do whatever was needed to give my child a chance of survival.
So, what is my suggestion? Go for it - use it, study it, seek to improve it on the basis of your experience. It's possibly one of our next major steps forward.
Now ... more reading:
- Questions and answers on vampies and werewolves from a "ghost hunter" website (http://www.zerotime.com/): http://www.zerotime.com/night/odd.htm#01 (originally found at http://spiritrescue.ning.com/forum/topics/1972845:Topic:356187);
- "Why I'll be kicking you off this blog", 9th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/blogs/blunt-instrument/why-ill-be-kicking-you-off-this-blog-20120808-23u7p.html;
- "Article pits Hun against student intern", 9th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/article-pits-hun-against-student-intern-20120808-23un9.html;
- "'Go find a boy!' - WTF?", 9th August, 2012: http://www.watoday.com.au/lifestyle/life/go-find-a-boy--wtf-20120808-23u5m.html;
- "Spectators jeer family as cyclists miss gold", 4th August, 2012: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/olympics/cycling-london-2012/spectators-jeer-family-as-cyclists-miss-gold-20120803-23las.html;
- This is a case of the tail wagging the dog. The Olympics are expensive, and the adverse impact they have on people's lives, in terms of the people living near the damn event, has become unacceptable, in my view. If ever my home city of Melbourne were to consider going for the Olympics, I would actively oppose making such a bid. The worst prt of it is, the whole thing is a failure. They started as a way to get nations together to promote harmony, believe it or not, and all i see is "which nation has the highest medal count" ... Any cultural interchanges? Any promotion of harmony and peace anywhere? And then there's the constant controversy over drugs ... Time to maybe drop them and start again?
"Draconian ‘Wi-Fi police' stalk Olympic Games", 3rd August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/draconian-wifi-police-stalk-olympic-games-20120803-23jdc.html;
- "Bald and bold: Joanna a champion on the track and a champion to thousands of others", 5th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/olympics/cycling-london-2012/bald-and-bold-joanna-a-champion-on-the-track-and-a-champion-to-thousands-of-others-20120805-23n4k.html;
- "Afghan runner carries true spirit of the Games with her", 3rd August, 2012: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/olympics/athletics-london-2012/afghan-runner-carries-true-spirit-of-the-games-with-her-20120802-23i6d.html;
- "Abused orphans take fight for justice to UN", 6th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/abused-orphans-take-fight-for-justice-to-un-20120805-23ny8.html;
- "Unshaven: unprofessional. Mohawk: no worries!", 10th August 10, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/blogs/work-in-progress/unshaven-unprofessional-mohawk-no-worries-20120809-23xjk.html;
- "No kids, no happiness? It's a myth", 7th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/no-kids-no-happiness-its-a-myth-20120807-23r84.html;
- Why wasn't Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Index mentioned?
"The pursuit of happiness", 3rd August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/national/the-pursuit-of-happiness-20120802-23i2e.html;
- This person predicted this stuff back in 1988 ... !!!!
"Here comes the sun: chilling verdict on a climate going to extremes", 7th August, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/here-comes-the-sun-chilling-verdict-on-a-climate-going-to-extremes-20120806-23q5o.html;
- I'm not in either category of human that this article says is prone to this problem, but I also experience something similar (phantom hearing phone calls - which is subjective clairaudience, verging on objective), and there is another possibility: psychism, related to people sensing others considering contacting them. Oh for a less materialistic world - grumble, grumble, grumphh.
"Touch and go for phantom phone vibrations", 12th July, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/touch-and-go-for-phantom-phone-vibrations-20120712-21xwf.html;
- "Things that go jump in the night cast a long shadow", 14th July, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/things-that-go-jump-in-the-night-cast-a-long-shadow-20120713-221gu.html;
- And finally ... "Researchers get a lift from 600-year-old bra find", 19th July, 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/world/researchers-get-a-lift-from-600yearold-bra-find-20120719-22b91.html.
 Please see my post "The Death of Wikipedia" for the reasons I now recommend caution when using Wikipedia.
Love, light, hugs and blessings
My "blogiography" is here.
May the world of commerce and business be recognised to be a servant, not a master, of the lives of people.
A home is for living in, not feeling, becoming or being rich or a “better” class than others.
The International Labour Organisation's definition of "full employment" is wrong, useless and misleading.
Armageddon is alive and well and happening right now: it is a battle between the indolence of "I only ..." and/or "I just ..." on one side, and perspicacity on the other.
Like fire to the physical, emotions to the soul make a good servant, and a bad master.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing. EDMUND BURKE
Your children are not your children. ... They come through you but ... they belong not to you ... for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow KAHLIL GIBRAN
We didn't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we only borrowed it from our children ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Those whom we cannot stand are usually those who we cannot understand P.K.SHAW
Tags:about me, attitudes, communication, judging others, nonviolence, peace, revenge, society, violence,
First published: Laugardgar, 11th August, 2012
Last edited: Saturday, 11th August, 2012