I just finished reading The Conflict Paradox: Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes by Dr. Bernard Mayer.
Mayer identifies the disputant dilemmas which polarize people into binary positions. He then uses Hegelian dialectic theory to reconcile the paradoxes. In every dilemma, "each element of each polarity implies and indeed requires the other", not as "mutually exclusive alternatives", rather, as "codependent realities".
The seven paradoxes are:
- Competition v. Cooperation
- Optimism v. Realism
- Avoidance v. Engagement
- Principle v. Compromise
- Emotions v. Logic
- Neutrality v. Advocacy
- Community v. Autonomy
I found the book insightful and refreshing. I especially appreciated Mayer's "reflections from practice"; case studies that illustrate the problems and how his views have evolved over 40 years of practice as a mediator.
The Conflict Paradox is useful not only to dispute resolution professionals but to students of psychology, politics, philosophy, business and science: "Paradoxes and dualities are part of every element of our lives".