Philosophy Tuesday

“You’re never going to eliminate conflict – you’re just going to manage it.  It’s not a problem to solve, it’s a conundrum to manage.”

  – Adam Savage

This quote hit home with me, as I am someone who really dislikes conflict.  Which, for starters, often has me relate to all sorts of things that aren’t conflict – disagreements, upsets, fraught or heated discussions – and conflate and collapse them with conflict.  In a sense, I turn them into conflict in my mind, which sets off my aversion klaxons, and off I go careening in an unproductive way.  So this is an invitation for me to keep mindful and present and expand my granularity for what constitutes something uncomfortable vs something that is an actual, full blown, conflict.  (And note to self:  very rarely will it ever be the latter.)

It also sparks recognition of wishful thinking, that there is a perfect way to go about life where all “conflicts” will forever be eliminated.  Which, yeah, no.  And again, the attempt at avoidance there can lead to all sorts of unproductive ways of being and acting that could have outcomes that end up being worse than if the “conflict” had been engaged with and, as noted above, managed through interaction, conversation, negotiation, and empathy.  And likely with a good dose of coming from intentions to resolve the issue.

Taken more broadly, this notion can also apply to, well, just about everything, in that kind of ‘don’t let perfect being the enemy of good’-adjacent kind of way.  Also in an ‘everything is spectral’ kind of way.  Or even an ‘80% rule’ kind of way.   If something never happening, or never having to deal with something again, is the goal, well, that’s likely going to lead to disappointment and is as much of a straightjacket as fully avoiding the thing.

But when we choose to dance with it, we gain freedom and options and ease and grace and likely less ‘conflict’ over all, as both things never reach that level and we don’t make that which is minor into conflict in the first place.

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