Can you make friends, not enemies?

  • 0 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline pantodragon

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 116
    • View Profile
Can you make friends, not enemies?
« on: 26/01/2013 15:13:04 »
This piece was inspired by the film PROOF OF LIFE and a dream I had after watching it.

This film is about a hostage negotiator and a job he takes on somewhere in South America.  Working for an American woman, he has the job of negotiating the release of her husband from a group of terrorists who are holding him high in the mountains along with a couple of other hostages. 

The negotiator works for a company that specialises in such stuff, so he is a ‘trained operative’ – This is the connection with science and philosophy.  What is he trained in?  Well, basically, in playing poker.  He has been taught to recognise the ‘signs’ of what the ‘opposition’ is about, whether or not they are holding a ‘strong hand’ or whether bluffing, and he has been taught how to manipulate and bluff himself.  In other words, it is ‘text-book stuff’.

Playing the situation as though it was a game of poker, it is hardly surprising that tension mounted and the terrorist’s temper frayed.

Up in the mountains, the husband was no less antagonistic and confrontational and, as a result, he suffered at the hands of the terrorists.  In fact, he only got away with his life due to the intervention of one of the other hostages.  This man was pretending to have gone mad, and so he had become a figure of fun to the terrorists and was thus tolerated and even allowed considerable licence.

The dream I had was this: I was standing on one side of a set of pink doors.  In the dream I knew that there was a hostage situation on the other side of the doors, but that I had resolved the situation.  There was a second part, in which I was in a large room full of junk, rather like a junk shop.  I was following groups of swans which lead me through the room between the shelves of junk.  The first group of swans were on a lead, but after that I just followed them.

The first part of the dream simply induced me to think about how I might handle such a situation – up till then I had just thoughtlessly watched the film.  The second part gave me clues as to how I would proceed.

To start with, I would be out to make friends with the terrorists. (If the hostage himself had made friends with the terrorists instead of sitting on his ‘high horse’, he’d have had a much better time of it – an adventure holiday even.)  This is not something you can do ‘by the book’ because no two people are the same, and you have to sense the individual, sense their boundaries, sense and avoid their no-go areas, and, equally, sense where their pride lies etc.  So you have to use your own senses, experience, intuition etc.

In the dream the room full of junk represents the mind of the terrorist.  The swans are also him, and I am allowing him to lead me gracefully and proudly through his own mind.  The leads on the first set of swans suggest the idea of ‘leading from behind’, which one does to get the process started.  Also, the swans suggest something that is ‘perfectly natural’ as opposed to a contrived procedure.  He will not lead you through his mind of you are not well-disposed towards him, if you do not respect him, or even if he senses you as an ‘alien’ presence.

To put it another way, I am ‘getting into’ the man’s mind.  To do that you have to leave your ‘self’ out of it.  It’s not about making judgements or assessments; it’s about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.  It is not about doing what YOU want, about discussing things that interest YOU, about expressing YOUR will, tastes or preferences.  HE has to be in the lead.  It is HIS will that matters etc.

The result of this process is that you end up understanding the person; you understand them as a unique individual and you respect them, respect what they are AND what they do – after all, you have done the next best thing to actually BECOMING that person.  So you end up ‘on their side’, end up agreeing that they were right to take hostages etc.

This does not mean that I have lost sight of the hostage.  I have not.  But now I am a friend to both sides, and can see the situation from both points of view.

I am not sure how I would proceed from here, except that, having brought the emotional temperature right down, having got rid of all the aggression and confrontationalism, I would continue down the route of ‘making light of’ the situation.  In other words, rather in the manner of a comedian, I would make a comedy out of the situation and get them to see the funny side of things.

Well, the dream (and intuition) say that I would be able to take the process to a conclusion, but I cannot see that that would be for the moment – at any rate, it would have to be that both sides got what they wanted; just not in the obvious sense.

I have stated in many of my posts that science is not up to dealing with the real world, but that human beings, as human beings with all their senses, intuition and the like, are.  This is an example.
« Last Edit: 28/01/2013 16:28:59 by pantodragon »