FORMULA FOR PEACE

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

The Anatomy of Peace

By: The Arbinger Institute (Third Edition: Resolving the Heart of Conflict)

Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith

The Arbinger Institute was founded in 1979 by Dr. C. Terry Warner.  He co-authored “Leadership and Self Deception”.  In 1967 he received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a professor at Brigham Young University. 

          The Arbinger Institute offers leadership training and consulting to organizations, families, and individuals around the world.   

              In “The Anatomy of Peace” a story is told about an Israeli and Palestinian who run a  youth camp for troubled children.  One presumes this is a story, not an actual event, that is designed to advise reader/listeners of the “…Institutes” beliefs.

“The Arbinger Institutes” objective is to identify the causes of human conflict and how it can be resolved.

              As the world knows, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict continues to rage without any evidence of resolution.  Some argue the solution is splitting the area into two states.  Others insist only one state is necessary with representation by resident voters.  “The Anatomy of Peace” argues neither solution addresses the fundamental cause for conflict, nor will it result in peace.

              Before explaining the camp leader’s histories in the middle east, the story begins with a young girl arguing with her family about being left at the camp for two weeks.  The young girl refuses.  The camp is in Arizona where temperatures rise well above 100 degrees in the summer.  This young girl runs away with no shoes on her feet.  She is followed by two young people who were once miscreates enrolled at the camp but are now employees.  They follow her, and catch up after several hours of flight to find her feet bloody and burned.  One of the two camp employees offers the shoes she is wearing to the runaway.  The runaway refuses.  Both employees choose to take their shoes off and continue running after her.  When she stops in a shopping center where she sees a friend of hers, they all come together.  The runaway looks at the camp employees and is shocked to see her pursuers had taken off their shoes.  The runaway agrees to stay for two weeks at the camp.  Her reason for staying is symbolic.

              The troubled children’s camp is run by an Israeli and a Palestinian who are at peace with each other despite the conflict in their home country.  Both have lost their fathers because of war.  In their younger adult lives, both harbored hate for their enemies, the killers of their fathers and countrymen.  Their respective stories are about how each overcomes their hate.  It is same as the story of the runaway.  They recognize each other as human beings.  They refer to Martin Buber who wrote the book “I and Thou” which recognizes the importance of reverencing the humanness of all human life.

Martin Buber (1878-1965, Author, 20th century philosopher.)

              The point is made that all people conflict with themselves when they treat others as objects rather than fellow members of humanity.  The principle of meditation is raised to get in touch with yourself, to understand yourself, to realize that in-common humanness is what must be recognized for peace to come among combatants.

              What the authors argue is that humans create boxes that carry the weight of who they are–which is not who they really are or mean to be.  In knowing oneself and the boxes we create for ourselves, we act in ways that defy the truth of all people’s humanness.  This idea is old.  It is the same idea that ancient Greeks spoke of when saying “know thyself”.  The Institute teaches that in self-understanding (knowing what boxes one is in) and realization of all people’s humanness, one can find peace. 

              The idea is to stay out of boxes that define you. This seems too simple. However, it is not simple or easy because of our inability to break out of boxes that have been formed over years of experience.   The first step is to not objectify other human beings.  Human labeling puts one in a  box.  The box creates someone who is an object, not a fellow human being.  The second is to know yourself and understand your boxes.  The last step is to get rid of the boxes.  Have empathy and do the things that make you feel good about your humanness.

The author makes the point that many things in life are beyond our control but those thoughts and actions that are within our control should be done in ways that make us feel good about ourselves.

                They argue you are in a box if you do not feel good about what you do.  Self-awareness sets one free to find peace.  There is a great deal to offer leaders and managers of other people in the teachings of the Arbinger Institute. A skeptic may find the Arbinger Institute’s formula for peace Pollyannaish. It will only change those who choose love and self-understanding in the face of human nature’s desire for money, power, and prestige.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

Embracing Defeat
By John W. Dower

Narrated by Edward Lewis

JOHN W. DOWER (AMERICAN AUTHOR, HISTORIAN)

Victory is sweet; defeat is bitter.  Victory engenders responsibility for the defeated; defeat demands fealty to a victor. Fealty is not the goal of a victorious leader who seeks lasting peace.

Peace among nations has a price. John Dower’s reflection on WWII and Japan holds lessons for today’s American leadership.

John Dower, in “Embracing Defeat”, endeavors to picture Japan’s condition; i.e. the state of its economy and its people, after surrender in WWII. 

History’s complexity is difficult to capture in words.  Dower makes an effort to explain the context of post war Japan by showing Japanese attitude in media reports and literature of the time.  The irony of Dower’s effort is that media reports and literature are censored by Allied forces, particularly the United States.

MICHINOMIYA HIROHITO (124TH EMPEROR OF JAPAN 1901-1989)
Dower covers the history of an American white wash of Hirohito’s war complicity and responsibility.  The American government uses Hirohito to make occupation and influence in Japan more acceptable to its population.  It became politically expedient to hide Hirohito’s true involvement in Japan’s war plans. 

Dower reports on post-war trials of Japanese military and government leaders; i.e. Dower writes about trial testimony of Japan’s WWII’ atrocities but his history shows that victor’ justice is not necessarily victim’ justice.

Hideki Tojo as hero and/or goat–tried and convicted; sentenced to a prison in which he dies. Tojo refuses to implicate the Emperor in his actions during the war.

In spite of (partly because of) American military occupation of Japan, financial aid is misdirected and food goods and material are stolen, a black market develops, gangs are formed, and corruption thrives. (Sounds like Iraq after America’s invasion.).  Prostitution became a way of making a living, and immoral behavior became semi-acceptable because of rising poverty.

NICOLAS MADURO (PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA SINCE 2013)
A case in point today is the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Are his actions a “crime against humanity” or is he fighting for his country’s independence?


Economic sanctions are as likely to punish the innocent as the guilty in countries that fight for their own identity. One’s interest is peaked by Japan’s experience after WWII because of the current Middle East muddle. 

Syria, Iraq, and Iran are challenged by domestic unrest and punitive actions by non-indigenous forces.  These three countries are particularly impacted by military and/or economic pressures from outsiders.  What is going to happen in those countries?  Are there any clues in the great change that occurred in Japan after WWII?

General MacArthur assumed the role of “Dear Leader”, treating the Japanese like 12-year-olds that were to be taught the ways of Democracy with a capital “D”.  This role by MacArthur in post war Japan is accepted by many Japanese because of centuries of Imperial control, exemplified by Emperor Hirohito.

BONNER FELLERS (U.S. ARMY OFFICER, SERVED AS A MILTARY ATTACHE IN WWII)
Dower also suggests that a large part of General MacArthur’s success is due to Major Bonner Fellers, a Japanese scholar that predicted Japan’s war several years before the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Major Fellers’ respect and understanding of Japanese culture and his influence contributes much to the success of American policy in post war Japan. 

Fellers recognizes Japan’s people, with new found freedom, are inwardly driven toward a capitalist philosophy inherent in democracy.  The Japanese did not abandon their ideas of production, the ideas of small business cooperation to achieve common goals.  Those ideas made them a military behemoth in the 1920s.  They redirected that belief system toward domestically driven capitalism. Japan became a dominant 20th century economic power. Japan’s experience suggests that freedom will not be denied but how it exhibits is a mystery wrapped in nation’s histories, beliefs, and practices.

Are there equivalents of “Major Bonner Fellers” to guide America’s policy toward other countries like Venezuela and the Middle East?

America can help or hinder a peoples’ drive for freedom but where it leads in Venezuela, Iraq, or Iran must be their peoples’ decision.

Nature abhors a vacuum (Spinoza).  The centralized governments and economies of Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, and Iran will be occupied democratically, autocratically, or some combination thereof, when domestic tumult subsides. 

Outside countries cannot mandate lasting peace within other countries; let alone their own country. Sovereignty should be recognized as an inalienable right. It is not America’s job to pick winners and losers.