VishMish & Peacebuilding

(Why am I naming days?)

7/15/14, Day, 13, 951: Peacebuilding and VishMish

“What we attempt to do is to create more people that think like we do, and I think the difficult work of peace-building is to create a quality of relationships among people who don’t think alike. And that’s precisely what I think is so distressful for a lot of folks right now in terms of the American scene…[we have] very little capacity to be in significant and quality relationships with people who think very differently.”
-John Paul Lederach, “The Art Of Peace,” On Being

This day is so named for a fascinating conversation with peacebuilder and poet John Paul Lederach on “The Art of Peace” for the podcast series, One Being. I’m always on the lookout for potential speakers for the TCG Conference, and there’s a vibrant peacebuilding movement in theatre; happily, his conversation also really spoke to the Vision/Mission work (VishMish, for short) that Flux is going through right now.

We met last night for our bi-weekly meeting, and spent an hour plus continuing the conversations from our Retreat. I thought of the Lederach talk throughout that process, including this passage on paradoxical curiosity:

“Ms. Tippett: Yeah. You use the term ‘paradoxical curiosity.’

Mr. Lederach: Yeah. Paradoxical in the sense that paradox is not contradiction — it’s two things or three things or four things that are different but ultimately are tied to each other in a form. And that’s actually the genius of complexity, is that while it can feel overwhelming when we’re in the middle of it, it keeps offering up new ways to understand something that doesn’t require you to choose one option against another.”

This reminds me of what author Leslie Jamison calls “the rigorous grace of complication,” and of the Oliver Wendell Holmes’ quote:

“I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

This is something that really resonates with us: moving through simplistic narratives and oppositional binaries into the heart of complexity and seeming contradiction; and through imaginative empathy and paradoxical curiosity, discover at unexpected connections and creative fusion.

It’s an exciting conversation, but a long one, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it going as we return to the thick of things.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 108 out of 125 days (Faust)
Spanish: 96 out of 125 days
Music: 11 out of 30 days

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)


Published by CorinnaSchulenburg

Artist and Activist

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