28th November 2014

No Judgement, No Conflict?

Judgement creates conflict. We know this from our own experience - recognise these scenarios?:

  • You start off having a positive exploratory conversation and end up in an argument defending a position you didn't even know you had a few minutes earlier! What happened? At some point you switched from "Interesting, tell me more ..." to "No, that's wrong ... you're wrong ... I'm right!"
  • You've just joined a group of people at a party or business function. For some reason (who does she remind you of?) you don't like the person talking, and you start making negative judgements about how she looks, speaks, thinks ... until, after a while, you have to admit that what she's saying is pretty good ...
  • Or you're sitting on the bus/train, allowing negative judgements to flow about a fellow passenger ... and then they smile at you as they get off and your whole state changes - "Well, what a nice person after all ..."

We know from our own experience that when we are truly present - in Flow - there is none of this judgement: "I'm fine." "it is as it is."II can choose my relationship to it and take the most positive course of action - often without thought, and definitely without fear. 

Because it is fear that causes the judgments through which we defend ... what? Our need to feel in control, our sense that we are right, that we "know" what is true - all the things that our fragile, false, socially-constructed sense of self, or "ego" needs to reassure itself that it is real, better, superior. 

Think of all that energy expended, all that pain suffered by yourself and others as a result of defending that which just a moment's thought reveals as unreal and indefensible.

Non-violent, compassionate communication tells us that it is our judgements -"You're wrong, it's your fault!" - that bring the violence into our relationships, violence that we see magnified from the individual to the social and global scale.

Otto Scharmer tells us that suspending the "Voice of Judgement" is a pre-requisite for "Presence" and creativity.

We say that ego-fear based judgement diminishes our Awareness and Connection and diminishes the positive Transformations of true leadership (the ACT of leadership).

And it is this fear that prevents teams functioning properly. Ego-fear turns the exploration of differences for the common good (the whole point of bringing diverse people together!) into conflict, as individuals defend their "position".

We are advised, when bringing up children, to always separate the behaviour from the person. This is the basis for all adult-to-adult - otherwise known as professional - interactions. What deep, childish fear makes us forget this as we find ourselves making judgements of those we don't even know, or having rows with our colleagues, our partners, our children, even as we suffer the pain of going against our love for them?

And if the voice of judgement is one of our greatest limiting paradigms, when and how is it right to say "No" to something and define it as wrong, to resist and, if necessary, to fight back, against the controlling partner, the bullying boss, the violent gang, the repressive government, the brutal regime?

No Judgement, No Conflict?

No Judgement, No Conflict?

Posted by Jefferson Cann

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