Isaiah Berlin’s (1909-1997) Top Ten Conflict Tips

I thought it time to add one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips from the British Philosopher Isaiah Berlin

  1. Both liberty and equality are among the primary goals pursued by human beings throughout many centuries; but total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs, total liberty of the powerful, the gifted, is not compatible with the rights to a decent existence of the weak and the less gifted.”
  2. Philosophers are adults who persist in asking childish questions. 
  3. The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.
  4. To understand is to perceive patterns.
  5. Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance – these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.
  6. Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.
  7. All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate.
  8. The fundamental sense of freedom is freedom from chains, from imprisonment, from enslavement by others. The rest is extension of this sense, or else metaphor.
  9. We are doomed to choose and every choice may entail irreparable loss.”
  10. The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Processes, PERSONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CREATIVE STRATEGIES, Philosophy of Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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