Welcome: Thanks for visiting the Complete LIberty general forum! The other, non-general forums can be found within the various local Complete Liberty groups. Let's promote the ideas of reason (our means of survival), voluntarism (life-enriching interaction), and self-ownership (the essence of property rights). Let's share ideas, discuss issues, and brainstorm ways for achieving complete liberty as soon as humanly possible, in accordance with upholding individual rights. If you're not yet fully convinced of the merits of complete liberty, please peruse the book and its bibiliography. If you still have reservations, check out the "Doubts" category, and perhaps someone will help you. Enjoy!

Open NVC Sessions

Wed, Feb 16 2011 03:55pm PST 1
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
Is anyone here interested in joining Weed Wackr and me for regular NVC practice? We've been having some productive sessions using this site's chat feature. So far it's taken the form of statist-vs-voluntaryist, which has its limitations (see http://completeliberty.com/forum/topic/7) but is still good "batting practice."

We think it might be interesting to try to expand the scope of things by starting an NVC dialog in the chatroom (located in the lower left corner) and inviting others to participate, critique, or just observe as things unfold. We'd like to keep things loose but try to get more people involved in these dialogs. IMO, Weed is very adept at NVC, while I am still pretty awkward with it. The point is the more you practice the better you get and the more second-nature NVC becomes.

For our first Open NVC Session, we are going to launch a chat room here, this Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. To keep it real, we are going to be discussing the two sides of the libertarian non-voting meme. Everyone's welcome to join us.

If you like this idea, would like to participate, or have suggestions for scheduling, topics, etc., please feel free to reply.
Thu, Feb 17 2011 10:56am PST 2
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
Yes, I have not yet decided if I will vote again and would like to increase my understanding of this issue. I am sitting on the fence on this. And that can be a painful place to sit, expecially if it's one of those fences with the little spikes on top like I was always getting caught on tresspassing through the neighbors yards as a kid. This should be a challenging topic for NVC.
Sun, Feb 20 2011 06:38pm PST 3
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
I still do not feel complete clarity on this issue, but I have a new appreciation for the value of the vote not taken as a vote for meeting the need for integrity, clarity, autonomy, and justice. We will be working further on practicing NVC again in a chat session Sunday the 27th at 7 p.m. EST. Please feel welcome to join us. Topic(s) for discussion are TBD.

Mon, Feb 28 2011 09:31am PST 4
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
I wanted to express some of my own thoughts that came out of last night's discussion. We explored some of the activist activities/arrests in Keene by trying some role playing and establishing the feelings and needs among all the parties involved, the activists, the cops, the judge, and people in the community in disapproval of the activist activities.

I think the most central need for the activists is awareness, awareness of how best to meet common human needs. The question becomes how to best meet that need for awareness. The current method of meeting that need appears to be through public moralizing and shame. This probably works to varying degrees depending on the receptivity of various observers, but is it generating uneccesary enemy imagry that might be getting in the way?, especially among those in the line of fire of the moralizing?

I try to imagine the pressure felt by the police and judges in these cases where a relatively small number of activists are moralizing against them, while the vast majority of people in the community are watching them in fear that if they do not maintain their legitimacy and authority that percieved needs for order and security in the community will not be met. Are they staring into a black hole of consequence if they do not carry out agression?

What would happen if the activists were able to empathize with this and the "authority" knew even for a second that their needs mattered to the activists? What would happen if opponents in the community knew that their needs mattered to the activists, even as the activists stay consistent in their message? How much of the enemy imagry present would melt and what would it do in terms of establishing the receptivity necessary to meet the needs on both sides?
Mon, Feb 28 2011 07:30pm PST 5
Wes Bertrand
Wes Bertrand
96 Posts
I like those questions, WW. Answering them in NVC fashion is our best hope for all of us getting our needs met, politically speaking. The latest clp discussed a bit of this as well:
Wed, Mar 2 2011 04:11pm PST 6
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
We also found, during our role playing, that it's hard to penetrate the institutional conditioning that goes with the official personas of judges and cops. They truly believe that they are satisfying everyone's needs for security and safety because they are part of a fundamentally necessary monopoly. Any suggestion otherwise, is interpreted as antagonistic (it just generates enemy imagery, as WW says), and the bureaucrat simply retreats within his persona and abdicates personal responsibility---"just doing my job" or "you're offending the court".

I think we may have to look somewhere besides safety/security to establish empathy initially. We need to recognize that their actions (even the most heavy-handed) are their own tragic attempts to have their needs for acceptance and appreciation met, i.e. acceptance by the larger community, appreciation for their "selfless" efforts and service, etc. If an activist can recognize their needs for connection during a conflict and use NVC to express their own need for the same kind of connection, then it might be possible to gain an empathetic foothold and initiate a true human-to-human exchange, where the usual human-to-persona exchange yields no fruit.

After listening to the conversation in Episode 136, one thing that struck me is that, while NVC is always worth attemping, time is a real limiting factor. So a roadside exchange with a cop or even a courtroom exchange will probably not be the best place to realize results with cops and judges. Maybe we should seek out other opportunities and settings where they are not so strongly bound by their personas, like the informal drive-alongs that some of the Free Keene folks have had with the local cops in the past, places where the dialog is not formally restricted by the government script.
Fri, Mar 4 2011 09:52pm PST 7
Wes Bertrand
Wes Bertrand
96 Posts
Zeke, I agree. The extra layer of disconnection, based on one's role in government as a coercive "authority," certainly presents more of a challenge to ascertain feelings and needs and foster and maintain a compassionate connection. To be secure in our persons and property is a need that those in government have a very hard time meeting, particularly when it conflicts with the "laws" they have a so-called "duty" to enforce.

I also wholeheartedly agree that the best opportunities to use NVC will be when the persons in government aren't working in their roles as "public servants." I definitely think it's crucial to speak with both cops and judges "off duty" and in a place where coercive demands aren't being placed on liberty lovers. The police ride-alongs unfortunately tend to legitimize the needs-sacrificing process, given the fact that the cops are in their tax-funded law-enforcement roles.
Sun, Mar 6 2011 09:42am PST 8
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts

It's difficult for me at times to hold on to an understanding of NVC simply because of the way my mind is trained. I went into a conversation one time actually thinking how devious I was "using" NVC on somebody to enhance my powers of persuasion. This is, of course, ridiculous because you cannot manipulate somebody to your will by considering their needs, sharing your feelings or making clear requests. But that's the residual Jackal, thinking he can win through some trick and have the other person lose.

When I consider talking to police non-violently I feel nervous for a few reasons. If it's an encounter that has a lot of verbal contact I am afraid that I will over-think issues of verbal formatting and not be able to communicate effectively. Plus I feel that there may be added apprehension on the part of law enforcement simply because they sense something different or contrived in the way I am speaking. I've considered that one way to release one's self from some of these fears or discouragements is to let go of focus on the verbal mechanics of NVC and instead focus on what is going on in the mind, behind the verbal format. It's a simple readjustment into making objective observations. Seeing and using reality to make life easy, rather than simply attempting to bend it to your will by communicative force. It's the simple extension of the non-aggression principle to interpersonal communications. I feel that simply training your conscious mind to spot feelings and needs may be what does the work. In a situation where there isn't time to choose your words carefully, maybe just do that. If you can't think to do that, simply figure out the feelings on the other side of the conflict and go from there.

For instance, what does a police officer feel when he approaches you or your car? He feels apprehension. I guarantee it. Especially if he's going to give you a citation. He knows you are likely pissed off, nervous, or embarrassed. He does this every day so experience has probably reduced the apprehension somewhat, but then again it can also be the opposite. I watched one officer stop at the back of my vehicle and take time to press his fingerprints firmly into the paint before proceeding up to my window to give me a ticket. Some officers are trained to do this so that if they are shot in the encounter and you flee, it will be much easier to match up the vehicle with the incident. This person is not only carrying an enemy image of a potentially irritated driver up to your window, they are carrying an enemy image of a killer. Their killer. This is reinforced through training to instill a reactive paranoia. Before they even ask you for your papers you are already suspected of being capable of causing their impending death. I have similar enemy imagery in my mind because any attempt on my part to fully exercise liberty in this situation will result in my death. It's not even a question really. I think if I was able to empathize with this one feeling the apprehension, it could flip the whole dynamic of the incident.

Now most people would say "why the hell should I consider their feelings, they are the aggressor". To get your needs met. Do you want your needs met or not? If you don't want to be searched, if you don't want to be detained, etc., if you don't want the handcuffs on a little too tightly, or if you simply don't want to be internally agitated, you're going to need receptivity. Making demands will simply start the cascade of escalating enemy imagery. The physical result may be the same in the incident, but both sides are going to be rattled. It probably won't save me a ticket, but it could, and for me I am much more likely to leave the incident at peace with myself because I observed the situation and chose the objective best course of action rather than escalating emotions on both sides.

Then there's the high of standing up to the man. If I don't play a win-lose, stand my ground and back him down, then I won't get the feeling of empowerment, right? "I showed them they can't push me around, I know my rights, bla bla bla."

I can see wanting this feeling, or capturing this feeling on video tape to share with others to make a point and raise awareness. This would certainly be a consideration in activism. If you don't have a loud and escalating, moralizing situation will you get the attention needed to raise awareness? But I would question whether NVC would be counterproductive to any of these needs in a net sense. If you feel empowered refusing to show ID to police officers and walking away open carrying an AK-47, imagine how empowered you would feel walking away from them in that incident with them not pissed off and you not on a temporary empowerment high, but at relative peace. That is real empowerment.

Sun, Mar 6 2011 12:30pm PST 9
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
We will open a chat room for NVC discussion again tonight at 8 p.m. EST if anybody would like to join in.
Mon, Mar 7 2011 07:05pm PST 10
Suburban Voluntaryist
Suburban Voluntaryist
5 Posts
I attended the chat last night with Zeke and Weed and really enjoyed it. Lots of fun and I hope to continue having opportunities to discuss and practice nvc.
Fri, Mar 18 2011 07:46am PDT 11
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
We've gone to holding these on Skype. If anybody would like to join in we're scheduled for 8 EDT this Sunday the 20th. I'll open a chat room here at that time to meet in to exchange Skype usernames. I've had a couple conversations with ultra-nationalists this week to relate and we can probably draw some roleplaying out of that.
Fri, Mar 18 2011 03:11pm PDT 12
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
Skype adds a whole new level of immediacy and realism to our NVC role-playing. It's really good practice. You don't have time to refer to feelings and needs "cheat sheets" (if you're a noob like me). It's a lot easier to hear empathy developing in vocal inflections and the rhythm of coversation that aren't present in chat. In addition to the practice, we usually discuss situations where we've recently tried to use NVC in our lives. It's a nice way to get some constructive input and encourage one another with success stories. The sessions really meet my need for understanding, clarity, and creativity and always leave me feeling inspired.

So please join us. It's mainly been Weed and I so far, but we've also been joined by Suburban Voluntaryist and Rich E. Rich. So far we've been doing the sessions every Sunday night, but we'd be willing to try other times if that works for others who are interested.
Fri, Mar 18 2011 05:35pm PDT 13
Wes Bertrand
Wes Bertrand
96 Posts
Ok, guys, I'm curious. Have you tried to use this site's audio/video chat feature in these sessions, or have you just used text? If you've tried to use the audio/video chat feature, have you had problems with it that now make going to Skype a preferred alternative? I'd like to see if we can optimize the audio/video chat feature on this site, before we move over to Skype (which is a stellar chat client, of course, but if we have the same service here, why not use it). In case you didn't know about the audio/video chat feature, it's the little icon of a webcam next to the little clock icon under the status at the top of your text chat window.
Fri, Mar 18 2011 06:49pm PDT 14
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
Prior to last Sunday's Skype session, it has been text only, either person-to-person or in a chatroom.

I've noticed the A/V chat option but have not experimented with it. Is it two-party only? Or is it possible to open a group A/V chatroom of some sort? There's no such option under "chatrooms" on the right.

I agree with the idea of maximizing on-site activity. If A/V chat can accomodate more than two parties and is of decent quality, it would seem to be the simplest option and would hopely encourage more participation by other members.
Fri, Mar 18 2011 08:12pm PDT 15
Wes Bertrand
Wes Bertrand
96 Posts
Maybe the chatroom aspect disables the A/V chat. I couldn't determine this from the documentation. I understand that a multi-user video would be tough to implement (only Skype's most recent version 5 has that feature--and I can't use it because it breaks my call recorder app). But maybe multi-user audio in the chat is possible. Wouldn't hurt to try. I guess if there's no option to activate that in the chatroom window, then it's not a feature.

So, we used to have a Skype "completeliberty" chat group that my friend Seth set up, but it appears that it's defunct. Skype does offer a public chat feature, which I just tried to set up, but for some reason the public link doesn't work. So, for now maybe it's best to go with folks convening here and getting each other's Skype handle in the chatroom.
Sun, Mar 20 2011 07:31am PDT 16
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
I'm on the free trial group video period for the latest Skype. We'll give that a shot for now and see how that works out.
Sun, Mar 27 2011 08:30am PDT 17
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
My own thoughts from last weeks discussion:

Nationalism

A 1956 Hungarian rebellion participant, Viet Nam special forces Veteran, and 21 year public school teacher I spoke with sees two governmental extremes (communism vs republics) as complete and separate systems, not simply different spots on a scale of domination and inequality on which needs for choice, security, and autonomy cannot truly be met. The American nationalist vision generally can see these two extremes as compartmentalized systems, not blends of domination practices, placing itself essentially on the "good end" of a scale, while not questioning the need for a scale of control at all. How do we create receptivity to the possible continued return of still more fruits from complete liberty, not simply "more" liberty. U.S. military activities are often seen as necessary for pushing the "more free" and holding off the "less free" systems. Some combat veterans seem to have this view shattered by their experiences, while others remain nationalistic. Won't those who remain in military service the longest and attain the highest rank and the most influence be those who are most prone to nationalistic views and least prone to questioning? What effect does this have?

Testimony about the horrors of totalitarian rule, in contrast to idealized feelings of more democratic type rule, serve as inspiration for nationalism and blend with feelings of dedication and sacrifice to meet the needs for meaning, acceptance, community, belonging, closeness, communion, inspiration, support, mutuality, trust, warmth, hope. All these needs are met within the tea party movement when standing and singing patriotic songs and pledging allegiance, and through war memorials, mention of the price of freedom in political speeches. How can these needs be met without states which inherently cannot meet needs for safety, security, and prosperity?

Cheering for your favorite sports team meets many of these needs, but is this a type of irrational pseudo-nationalism with a less-violent playing field? It comes complete with the "we" identification with strangers you cheer for. On balance are voluntaryists less inclined to be sports fans? It was noted that living in a big city, even for a short time pulls one into the practice of following sports. The participation of kids in team sports can meet important needs for physical well-being, challenge, play, but can it also foster memes of win-lose and domination that later feed the domination culture, state, and result in needs for safety, security, and well-being not being met? A high value may be placed on violence in football, can this serve life or is this the ultimate expression of training and indoctrination into win-lose as a way to meet needs? In the case of Pat Tillman do we see the pseudo-nationalistic tribute of sports blended with an irrational tribute of nationalism, even as his anti-war leanings have become known?

Education, Grades and equality, intrinsics vs extrinsics

Abandoning the reward/feedback systems of school grades sometimes brings accusations of making everyone equal, the primary philosophy behind socialist and communist domination systems. How should this best be addressed?

Are grades, extrinsic definitions of the self? If one is taught that they are to be defined extrinsically by authorities or others, what are their prospects for meeting needs for self-esteem, autonomy, and efficacy later in life? Are needs better met through grading or without grading? Will graded students graduate ready-made to join the domination structure? Are grades scaling up to financial grading later and a self-concept based on financial success? Do "A"s drive a BMW and "D"s drive a rusty chevy pickup? Is the income on your tax return viewed as a grade for adults? What's the goal, who his defining it? The self? Or is the self shown through schooling and win-lose memes the extrinsic means by which they are "graded", defined, and controlled?

How do we best address the perception of voluntaryism fostering the "win-lose" of unlimited market competitiveness in our discussions? We all know the end result of a policy that seeks to meet needs by forcing equality. If one "loses" because of a market competitor bettering them does this mean their needs are not met or does this mean that the competitor's needs for efficacy were met and the "loser" having acquired new self knowledge is free to move to where they are most productive? In a true free market is this a win-lose, or a win-win? Everyone's needs can get met, but sometimes a change of strategy is required. It's important to remember that we often do not know how the meet our needs without trial and error. Errors are not losses, they can be wins. The "sin with boldness" philosophy.

Why are we even considering financial or business success as a way to define a win? Are we "grading" ourselves and others through earnings? What is the goal here and who is deciding it? Would complete liberty at some point render scarcity as an issue moot and allow the formation of more individualized intrinsic goals.

Zeke incated a preference for discussion of education this week: 3/27/11 8:00 EST I hope everyone feels free to join in.

Debbie is an speaker at the online Agora/IO conference today at 3:00 EST
http://agora.io/etienne

Sat, Apr 2 2011 09:16am PDT 18
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
My reflections from last weeks discussion:

Parenting and Education

brush your teeth, take a shower, wear your coat

The non-stop barrage of extrinsic controls while growing up meets the needs of parents and educators to feel like they are meeting the needs of kids for protection, purpose, safety, security, understanding, awareness, meaning, order. This feels good. At the same time the carrot and stick may be preventing the needs for choice, independence, and autonomy from being met. This can undermine the self esteem. What effect is this having on the ability to meet needs later through life? Can parents become more skilled at striking a balance between allowing choice and autonomy and interrupting self direction to meet needs for safety, health, security? When the unnatural method of domination is deeply habitual it will take time and self-empathy to make a transition to Giraffe parenting. With years of Jackal parenting and educating, enemy imagery abounds. Request are demands by default. Refusals of requests may not be seen as expressions of unmet needs but as wrongness. A baby giraffe parent will begin to catch themselves moralizing. It's important to be one's own giraffe in these cases instead of self-jackaling. This is an extensive change in habitual thinking that will take time. Requests with simple reasons behind them (needs) are much more likely not to be seen as demands because they create more empathetic connection. "Because I said so" is replaced by an expression of a feeling and unmet need. It's important to remember that requests that are not open to refusal are demands regardless of how they are worded. Requests that are refused do not have to be losses but can be win-win opportunities to express feelings and unmet needs that are below the surface.

Control can breed resistance (unintended consequences) which requires stronger control. Control undermines the ability to develop self-direction which breeds more need for extrinsic direction. Where does this end when the irresistible parent meets the immoveable child? This escalation leads to problems getting needs met later on. This is the same principle as the application of force to society to adjust behavior breeding the need for still more force. The development of an apparatus for society to self-regulate is undermined. The development of the self to self-direct can also be undermined. Are what would otherwise be temporary passing problems ballooned into huge issues by this snowball effect? We've seen the "problem children" in our own families who could not adjust to domination culture, especially the rigid structure of government schooling, carry an unproductive negative self image into later life. How can we be happy and serve our own lives if we can only define ourselves through others? Is this creation of a need for extrinsic approval feeding the state a steady diet of sleeping sheep? How will the need for safety be met in a governmental structure populated with wolves?

True attempts at self direction in children often bring punishment. How tragic is this? How can a parent possibly let go of constantly directing behaviors that they know are undermining needs, long enough to see if the problem is self-correcting? What are some ways to ease the anxiety associated with letting go? Is observation by other parents producing jackaling against parents who allow lots of self-direction? Is the fear of jackaling by the domination-oriented society a huge barrier to parents allowing self direction in children? Of course it is. The slave on slave effect. What are the feelings and needs of these jackals?

Other possible challenges for baby giraffe parents: There isn't time, for NVC right now, it has to get done! This is just not reality. This is not what everybody else is doing. This will not work for everything. This is just not practical in some cases. This is yet more work to learn this.

What are the feelings and needs with these concerns?

For Sunday Night 4/3/11 8:00 pm

We have a consensus that while we're having excellent discussions we have an unmet need for building skills in the efficacious use of NVC that can be met by more role playing. I would like participants to feel free to select a role playing scenario to carry out. Everyone has experienced unease in maintaining harmonious and peaceful communication with multiple participants due to the delay in Skype. Hopefully this will be less of a problem during role plays. Two can be in role-play mode while others can listen. We can also examine others internet options that are out there. After role plays we would like to evaluate and discuss.

Because most of my conflicts typically involve political discussions, I would like to hold an NVC discussion with Adolph Hitler for my role play. Everyone has a pretty good handle on the Nazi belief system and if I can learn to empathize there, granting empathy to your average political statist will be pure play!!!



Sat, Apr 2 2011 01:05pm PDT 19
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
Excellent and thorough summary of last week's chat, Weed. I have a lot more exploring to do in the realm of family relationships. For the role-playing exercise, I would like to talk with an authoritarian/religious parent who insists that extrinsic motivators are the only way to cope with young savageschildren.
Sat, Apr 2 2011 04:52pm PDT 20
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
Sat, Apr 2 2011 05:50pm PDT 21
Zeke Woods
Zeke Woods
28 Posts
Very funny, Weed.
Thu, Apr 7 2011 07:13pm PDT 22
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts

My reflections on last Sunday's session 4-3-11. Thanks to Zeke and others for reaching out to invite more people to participate and listen in. 8 people were present! We've been discussing other options for audio chat, but will continue on Skype for now until a better arrangement is reached.

We completed the Adolph Hitler rollplay, a rollplay between an religious and authoritarian grandparent and non-religious parent and a rollplay between a non-religious adult child and both deeply religious parents.

Agreeing to Disagree

I had a short discussion with a state senator one time where I tried to explain to her that she can't possibly increase overall happiness within a community of millions of individuals by centrally planning economic activity through community foundations. She concluded that we would have to agree to disagree on that. She might have a real choice to agree or disagree, but I did not. At least I could not act on my opinion, only on hers. The choice is made for me by her. I did not want to know what was alive in her. She was an enemy image. It's unlikely that my need to be understood by her will be met under those circumstances. What were her needs?

I've always disliked it when someone told me will have to agree to disagree on that, because it meant that I could not make them agree. To adapt a concept spoken by Marshall Rosenberg; at those times that I could not make someone stop disagreeing with me, there was one option available that would have worked. Kill them. It is 100% guaranteed that the dead are completely incapable of disagreement on contentious matters. When we proceed from the premise that we will get our needs met by "making" person X agree with me, haven't we already greatly decreased the chances of meeting our needs and taken a step ultimately toward violence? I can't remember somebody "making" me do anything without producing an enemy image of themselves in my mind. This gets in the way of peaceful exchange when we think in terms of making someone do something, think something, or believe something. This can escalate and cause pain and break connections. An Adolph Hitler is simply an unusually consistent application of this flawed principle of the power of "making". All jackals have a little Hitler in them. Obviously it didn't work very well for him and it also can cause us problems in our own lives.

Isn't there an important root in this mindset that our needs will get met by making someone meet them. Isn't this the mindset that can flow right out of parenting, schooling, and relationships into the way human societies are organized through states "making" them be organized in this or that fashion. The well kept secret we come together to celebrate and pull into the light is that human beings generally and naturally want to meet each other's needs if they are not "made" to do so.

With disagreements in matters of faith or politics we probably all have little impasses with people we interact with. It can feel disconcerting when our own logic and reason, patiently argued, meets a wall with someone important to us. What are our needs in these impasses and how can they get met when agreement seems impossible? Do we even need agreement right now to get those needs met? I've begun to find that when I thought I needed agreement, I simply needed enough connection to understand and be understood. That has been enough. When I've tried to make somebody agree with me without establishing receptivity through empathy, reaching understanding has been much more difficult. Other times agreement I thought I forced through discussion was not really agreement. It was compliance, "pretended" agreement and it's something we always pay for later. A guy once joked to me with regard to his marriage his role in the relationship was to do only two things: "breath and agree"

All joking aside any forced agreement really isn't an agreement at all. Agreement by definition is voluntary. No matter how much agreement we can make somebody pretend to give us, it would never be enough to render it genuine until it was voluntary. Forced agreement is definitely a tragic and suicidal attempt to get needs met. Spotting, sharing, and connecting with the needs underlying the belief or opinion in contention offers hope of getting everyone's needs met peacefully.

To understand complete liberty and advocate a voluntary society is typically to first enable one's self to re-evaluate cultural teachings that may have shaped their own thinking and then to invite others to do the same. With unconditional parents there an opportunity to allow the self-direction in development that can produce individuals who are not in need of cultural "deprogramming". Parents have an opportunity to communicate non-coercively in the family setting, a life-enriching existence that can scale up to a freer society as culture abandons memes of domination.

Separating from the memes of the surrounding culture can bring conflict that prevents needs from getting met, especially within families of mixed viewpoints. Staying mindful of the needs on all sides is important to create the receptivity needed to maintain connections.

For Sunday the 10th at 8:00 pm, I would like to try a role play that is important to me professionally if anybody is willing. As part of my job I treat lakes with aquatic pesticides to control plant and algae growth. Applying chemicals to the water creates enemy imagery. I was traveling recently and stopped at a tavern to eat, struck up a conversation with somebody and mentioned my profession. Apparently there is a lake in town that gets treated through funding provided by the local government and I quickly found out that the people sitting around me had discussed this often, were not in favor of this, wanted to express anger over the whole idea that someone would do what I do, and had little interest in any other aspect of discussion.

Despite having no personal involvement with that particular lake I provided the enemy imagery. They asked if I had children. I said no. I was told that since I did not have anybody to care about I did not understand their problems and would not hesitate to come down there and poison their children's water supply to make my wallet fat. You get the idea. Needs?

1. Safety, I am poisoning the groundwater

2. Recreation, I am ruining the fishing

3. Financial security, choice, (on top of it all they are probably forced to pay for it through taxes)

Sun, Apr 17 2011 11:08am PDT 23
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
Some of my thoughts from last week, Sunday 4-10-11. Zeke helped me out by role playing the scene with the residents who were angry with my whole profession because they did not believe their needs for safety were being met. In the past I had always judged this as ignorance. They were in need of my enlightenment. When there is already receptivity there this jackal viewpoint can still get needs for communication and understanding met in some cases, but when receptivity is not present seeing and empathizing with needs instead of the enemy imagry of ignorance becomes critical to getting needs met. Contention can bring violence, connection is life-serving.

I Skyped with a long time online aquaintance who is a mom to a 15 year old and ten year old boy and mentioned some of the discussion on Wes's recent podcasts. I was surprised to learn that she had home schooled both of her kids. When I asked about religious beliefs she indicated that she is an agnostic, the oldest is an atheist and the youngest boy "pretty much believes in everything."

This struck me as an amazing thing. Imagine children directing their own beliefs! The world will come unglued! Most of the friends and aquaintences I have here in Indiana would cringe at the thought of children being allowed to choose their own way. The prevailing culture here seems to dictate that the first duty and obligation of parents is to indoctrinate their children into their own religious beliefs.

There is a great fear that needs for order, safety, security, stablity will not be met without conformity of belief.

I attended a tea party group meeting this last week where great anger was expressed over the fact that the governor stripped punishment for employers out of an anti-immigration bill. In a group setting I did not attempt to open discussion about this issue for fear of verbal violence blocking understanding. I would like to role play this scenario tonight at 8p.m. to attempt an empathetic connection.
Sun, Apr 17 2011 04:26pm PDT 24
Wes Bertrand
Wes Bertrand
96 Posts
WW, as usual, you've raised a plethora of vital issues. Thanks for the enlightening run-down in this thread. I think the main challenge in seeing what needs others are trying to fulfill pertains to the particular costly strategies they are using, strategies that we voluntaryists find quite distasteful because they sacrifice so many needs. Oftentimes, most people aren't aware of the fact that they have many needs that aren't getting met (such as for choice, autonomy, justice, and clarity), so our task in discussion becomes one of broadening their needs horizon.

The costly ways that most individuals employ to get their needs met are largely the result of upbringing and culture and hence lack of knowledge of more life-enriching ways. In connecting with their intent to get their needs met and identifying what they are feeling, we can provide a bridge to new insights that lead to them choosing new strategies that don't come at the expense of various (oftentimes unacknowledged) needs. When their need for empathy is met, they're much better able to see the costly nature of present strategies (for self and others) and then update their understanding of the possible beneficial alternatives. Connecting with feelings and needs assists in dissolving not only the enemy imagery, but also the various psychological defenses present that continue to hide the truth and perpetuate tragic expressions of unmet needs.

Yes, fear (and anger on top of it) that needs for order, safety, security, stability will not be met without conformity of belief is common. So, indeed the task is to connect with feelings and needs to reveal the costly nature of demanding conformity, both for self and others. Again, it's time to broaden the needs horizon, and help them understand that living in fear and acting on fear are the most costly ways to get needs met.

Wish I could join you in the discussion tonight. Enjoy!

Sun, May 22 2011 08:51am PDT 25
Weed Wackr
Weed Wackr
52 Posts
Some thoughts and observations from the last few weeks:

I continue to attend many weekly tea party group meetings attempting to spur discussion in a group setting of frustrated jackals about the ideas of liberty. It's feels like a narrow line to walk between provoking thought productively and inciting disharmony. Many people feel uncomfortable with new ideas, fearing needs will not get met if those ideas are allowed to propagate. We sometimes feel afraid of new ideas believing the fierce defense of the integrity of our present understandings meets our need to identify, protect, and secure our self. This tragic attempt at meeting these needs through avoiding looking at ourselves can prevent the need for transcendence from being met. The issue of recent state immigration legislation came up at the last meeting and I did not attempt to open discussion on the topic for fear that I would not be able to communicate effectively or create any receptivity in an open group setting with all the members in opposition.

Later that week we role-played this scenario in the NVC sessions and in analysis it was pointed out and realized that there is no strategy for getting my need for understanding met that does not include a willingness to share my own honest feelings and needs in the discussion, including my own fears about effective communication in a group setting where my own viewpoint is opposed by everyone. My own mind is trained to cite facts, moralize, and point out faults with my "enemy" in discussions. Add in a dash of NVC and now I'm often doing that and slipping in a little empathy while I refute their facts. To truly communicate non-violently feelings and needs in the moment should also enter the discussion to establish connection. It never occurred to me to express my own fear and frustration about questions being unanswered in a discussion, about not being allowed to finish a point, about interruptions and speaking out of turn, or about a topic being swept under the rug simply because of disagreement. These real-time feelings and needs are present in all participants. Real-time empathy will help keep communication flowing. Discussions which involve politics involve feelings and needs associated with the abstract topic, but also the immediate feelings and needs for understanding, authenticity, ease, cooperation, and fairness in the discussion.

When an opportunity came again to open a group discussion about immigration I was able to get various group members to share their fears about what would happen if immigration into the United States was allowed to proceed freely. I started off by saying that I was in favor of open and free immigration. In the past I would have followed this up with a moralistic argument which would have been countered vigorously and the enemy imagery that was produced would have resulted in a stalemate. After an initial gasp at the suggestion that immigration be free, I was able to diffuse the enemy imagery I just created by telling everyone I was interested in hearing their fears and concerns about what would happen if immigration was open. The members were then willing to consider my own viewpoints about their concerns without the usual reactivity. The greatest fear was that immigrants would not assimilate. Attempts to block Immigration can be a strategy for achieving consistency and familiarity. Fears exist about group-belonging being defeated, destroying familiarity which is perceived as providing the order and safety necessary for happiness. Immigrants are perceived as having a completely different set of needs. The role playing we had done in the sessions had prepared me to be able to raise several important questions and open a brief discussion about natural law and suggest some further reading to members. A number of questions were raised by other members of the group which confirmed some degree of understanding. Nobody could explain why the state department is arbitrarily limiting the number of immigrants of good character, or why the tea party does not protest the blocking of immigrants with good reputations who are obviously productive members of society. Nobody was even aware that illegal immigration is a result of the lack of a reasonable legal recourse to immigrate. It was assumed that all "illegal" immigrants were simply of a nature to voluntarily choose "illegal" behaviors over "legal" ones, thus the enemy imagery associated with "illegals". "Illegal" behavior is considered to be synonymous with rights violating behaviors. Later in the discussion it was suggested that I was proposing something new. That nothing be illegal unless it resulted in actual harm to another person. I felt happy to acknowledge this understanding. A member who ran for judge noted that when he campaigned door to door at the houses of Mexicans, the adults had to go get the children to interpret. The young children had already learned English. Yet it was still felt that if unlimited immigration occurred, assimilation would stop. " They want to make it here, like it is there." Nobody could explain why if they want to do that, they don't just stay there in the first place. I will bring this up again to see if anybody checked out the additional reading I suggested.

I was driving through the town circle yesterday morning and there was a small group of protesters standing with signs which said "violence is not the answer". I parked and walked over to ask what particularly they were protesting. They said all violence, but especially the war. I said I felt happy that they were protesting against violence, but wondered if taxation was included as a form of violence under protest this morning. A lady answered that taxation would not be included. I asked her if maybe then she felt violence was the answer in some cases, but just not others. She said there was no violence in taxes. I went right into the "well what happens if you don't pay?" line of questioning. The discussion quickly escalated into a littany of typical cliche's "you drove here on the roads didn't you?", "you went to public high school paid for by taxes didn't you?", "there's no violence, they just place lien's on your property if you don't pay", "don't you want any rules at all?" "your part of society aren't you?" I suggested that perhaps school, society, and rules could happen without coercion. One gentleman even took the position that taxes are voluntary and there was no coercion involved. I asked him if he was certain about that and actually believed that. He said yes, and furthermore he thought there should be more taxes since he was getting older and needed government services. By the time I remembered to put on my giraffe ears and grant empathy for the needs violence was meeting in providing services to the elderly man it was really too late to foster any kind of meaningful connection. Even my attempts at empathy were seen as veiled accusations of wrongness at that point. We thanked each other for the exchange and they began packing up and left.

At the moment we are confronted with our own contradictory viewpoints our need to understand and be secure in our own mind is threatened. Intentionally threatening another's contradictory viewpoint to illicit an emotional response can also be a tragic attempt to meet the need for self understanding and security. Enemy imagery abounds and needs will NOT get met. Both want to win but both lose in this scenario without an empathetic connection and a motivation of understanding and productive exchange. In retrospect, I wonder what were the feelings of anti-violence protestors, confronted with their own support of violence? If I had avoided the moralizing and expressed my own feelings and needs about taxation rather than pointing out that it is violence, could my own need for understanding have been better met in the discussion? I observed that in an intense discussion once enemy imagery is produced, it can be difficult to establish the empathetic connection needed. What if I had shared my own fears that they would not hold an authentic discussion once they heard that I was not in favor of taxation or began by expressing my own fears that if people's property can be taken away, won't it often end up being used for war and threaten people's safety? Progressive type protestors feel frustration that people refuse to understand their viewpoint or reexamine their own assumptions just like voluntaryists do. If their frustration does not matter to me, why does mine matter to them? I would like to role-play this scenario to help make a more natural approach habitual and achieve more understanding when this happens again.

I've began introducing a more non-violent approach into some aspects of my work life. I am often employed by lake associations. These are usually voluntary collectives. Lake residents pitch in to create funds to manage the water quality of the lake on which they share riparian rights. Questions arise about the way the funds are used and the equality and fairness of respective benefits enjoyed by various residents. Inter-member moralizing can block communication and erode contributions, interfering with my own need to earn a living. As voluntary contributions erode the perceived need for state funds/grants increases. If they are achieved, further erosion in the apparatus of voluntary funding results. When state funding then dries up, it becomes difficult to meet the needs of the residents as the spirit of cooperation and awareness is gone. As a contractor often falling in between warring parties focusing on needs and empathetic connections rather than the moralizing strategies of domination may help resolve disputes and increase understanding.

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