Susan and I were trying to find a simple way to explain reconciliation among equals.

“When conflict breaks out, we are shaken out of unity, and fall into the four-sidedness of conflict. There is [1] what I believe, there is [2] what you believe, there is [3] what I think you believe and there is [4] what you think I believe.

(Naive egocentricity, of course, sees only two sides: what I believe and what I know you believe. Until one overcomes naive egocentricity and learns to see conflict as four-sided, progress is impossible.)

To begin reconciliation we try to go from four-sided conflict to three-sided disagreement, where there is [1] what I believe, and there is [2] what you believe and there is [3] our shared understanding of our disagreement.

But sometimes when we reach a shared understanding of the disagreement we realize that this shared understanding has transcended and absorbed our old conflicting beliefs. This new understanding is no longer an agreement about a disagreement, but [1] a new shared belief. The three-sided disagreement is now a more expansive and accommodating unity.

So it’s one to four to three and then back to one. Repeat, ad infinitum.”

At this point Susan reached over and picked up a book from a pile of hermetic books next to her chair. “What is this?”

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