Re: Consensus and conflict
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2021 12:45:18 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 5, 2021, at 10:25 AM, Fred-List manager <fholson [at]> 
> wrote:

> I am convinced what the world needs now is a normalization and even a
> WELCOMING of "conflict".  Dominic Barter says "conflict is new information
> entering a system, that has not been integrated."  I don't see sociocracy
> as having such a mechanism in place.  And I have taken the course.  Maybe I
> missed something?

Conflicts are dealt with in circle meetings and using rounds. Any other 
techniques can be used if they help but rounds are incredibly effective because 
it allows everyone to understand many views of the situation. One, for example, 
is express what effect the conflict has on other community members. Another is 
how the resolution will affect others — if we resolve it this way, what does 
that mean for other policies or expectations.

Conflict is also viewed as a problem with lack of clarity or information—a 
systems problem. Since the circle plans its own work, writes its role 
descriptions, etc., these are within the team’s control. Ther commitment is to 
ensure that everyone can participate/work well/happily/productively. 

The ultimate goal of sociocracy is harmony. The purpose of argument and consent 
is to establish and maintain harmony.

There was once a discussion on the list about a table of people at dinner who 
would argue politics or other subjects regularly. The person who raised the 
issue felt it was inappropriate behavior and used it as an example of what "we 
don’t do.”

One comment was from a person who had two uncles that argued equal rights, 
injustice, politics, and everything else at family dinners. She said her family 
viewed it as entertainment. Like a cheap date. I have a friend who said her 
partner saw everything as a policy debate, a political statement. Even “pass 
the butter” could result in a heated debate on some basis. 

I actually miss the heat in our early membership meetings with people yelling, 
pounding on tables, walking out. Once we were confronted with Person A 
protesting that Person B had thrown a chair at her. Person B admitted to 
throwing a chair but he said he didn’t throw it at her. He just threw it across 
the room.

Sometimes I wish that there were exercises that desensitized people to yelling 
and arguing and having to stand up for themselves when they thought they were 
being criticized. They seem to be directed to keeping everyone "nice.” it’s all 
well and good to feel compassionate when compassion is helpful. But it doesn’t 
usually mean much when people are arguing points of view.

For those aware of the birth order theories, I’m the first born of a first born 
of a first born of a first born. That’s as far back as I’m aware of. And one of 
those first borns was a Marine. Demands, expectations, and conflict are the 
order of the day.

Sharon Villines
Affordability starts at 30% of income, not 80% of the local median income

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