I just finished this book on "conflict paradox"

I just finished reading The Conflict Paradox: Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes by Dr. Bernard Mayer.

Mayer identifies the dilemmas that polarize disputants into binary positions. Using Hegelian dialectic theory, he reconciles 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:

In essence, the conflict paradox is about the intellectual and emotional maturity that we bring to conflict. The higher the stakes, the greater our tendency to view these polarities in a more primitive or immature way - to believe that we must choose between one side or the other. ... We must seek the truth that encompasses both sides of these polarities.
— Bernard Mayer
  • 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".

Ari Kaplan