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Week 3: E. Lindner: Emotion and Conflict

E. Lindner describes in „Emotion and Conflict“ how emotions infect conflicts and how conflicts trigger emotions. For that he concentrates on the six emotions fear, anger, humiliation, guilt, hope and confidence. To explain the connection of emotions and econflicts he uses a few historical and political examples, such as the genocide in Rwanda and the uprise of Hitler. Beside this he also uses the difficult relationship of the fictive couple Adam and Eve to explain the impact of emotions on conflicts on a personal level. This runs like a red line through the whole text and secures the reader of being overtaxed by to much new situations. The relationship between violent Adam and subservant Eve has an interesting aspect since both of them don´t realize the situation as a conflict. This shows, that the question, if a conflict is exists, depends on subjective definitions. A closer focuse on the meaning of emotions in political contexts would have been desirable.

Lindner enforces an interesting view of the brain by distinguishing between the „old“ brain and the „new“ brain. The old brain ist he summary of basic emotions, which also can be found in animals, such as fear and anger, while the new brain consists of the more complex emotions like shame, guiltyness or humiliation, which was developed by the human in his last evolutionary states. Apperently a child repeats this evolutionary process by creating the ability of feeling more complex emotions in his first years, while it has it´s basic emotions since the very beginning. Beside this interesting point of view, Lindner challenges his reader with a lot of unnecessary biological details, like the interplay of several brain regions including biological technical terms.

Beside the mention of the existence, occuring and meaning of emotions in conflicts, Lindner explains opportunitys how to use and to handle emotions in conflicts aswell. Conflicts are probable to arise when we allow our old brain to take the controll over our mind. Feelings like fear and anger can sometimes be helpful in emergency situations, but hinder us to keep track of our longtime goals, which just can be recognized if we slow our thinking down. These low-order feelings also prevent us from acting rational, why it´s advisable to try to cool down our fear during a conflict. It also would be preferable to cool down the fear of our opponent in negotioations, if we want him to act rational.

Due to that it is also useful to know the own „red buttons“ and those of other people to be able to controll the own emotions when the „red buttons“ get triggered, aswell as we should try to avoid to „press“ the red button of other people.  

Lindners „Emotion and conflict“ gives an orderly overview over several emotions and what role they play in personal aswell as in political conflicts. It helps us to understand how emotions can and get used to find constructive resolutions to conflicts. Furthermore makes us to evaluate our own behaviour since emotions are a part of our daily life, which we don´t reflect so closely.

29.1.15 06:20

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