Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.
Many thanks to my friend and mentor, Earl Lavender, for pointing out a powerful scientific development which is turning theory into observable fact. He noted that quantum or particle physics is providing dramatic proof of a world view, nay a universe view, vastly different than the one we have all grown to accept. Data is beginning to emerge as generated by the Large Hadron Collider on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. The first human engineered collisions of sub-atomic particles in this high energy collider have begun to take place this year, at fractions of the energy the collider is capable of generating.
The data emerging is proving that Einstein’s theory of relativity is more reality than theory. E=mc2 is more than a mathematical equation, it represents a fundamental shift from mechanical descriptions of how the world works to one of immensely interdependent relationships. The theory of relativity (actually two theories which work in combination: special relativity and general relativity) hypothesized algebraic relationships between seemingly incompatible physical forces: energy, time and matter. More particularly, the relativity between these fundamental cosmic forces is precise, predictable and quantifiable. As energy increases, time (speed of light) and matter increase with time increasing as a square of matter’s increase. Simply stated the theory of relativity maintains that all is not constant, but variable and in direct proportional relationship with opposing forces. In other words, the universe is not a zero sum game, but infinitely and proportionately variable. As dark increases, light decreases. Thus theoretical “black holes” exist in space where the density of dark is so great, neither light nor energy could escape.
However, without proof a theory is just a theory. The LHC has begun to provide the proof. In controlled experiments beginning this year (105 years after first theorized by Einstein), particle theorists (or quantum theorists) are having a field day. Depending on how deep you want to go, you can understand why these discoveries are so formative and energizing to the scientific, astrophysical, religious and behavioral science communities. For folks like me, Quantum Physics for Dummies might be sufficient to “get it”. If you want to dig a little deeper and get a more detailed introduction for lay people, try Discovering the Quantum Universe. For the Bravehearts who want to dig deep and wallow in technical jargon, try Revealing the Hidden Nature of Space and Time: Charting the Course for Elementary Particle Physics.
I know you’re waiting for me so say it, so here goes: “What does all this have to do with conflict management?” You know the answer, “Everything!”
Now that the LHC is operational, it will be increasingly difficult to cling to dualistic thinking. “Either/or” outcomes will have increasingly less logical force. “Both/and” thinking will become the hallmark of innovation and forward progress: relationally, economically, socially and politically. Partisanship is dying. Like management and fundamentalism, dualistic approaches to life must suffer a well deserved burial. (See prior posts in this space: Mass Collaboration: Will Management Really Die? and The End of Coercive Power: Really?)
Win/lose approaches no longer have scientific support. “I win at your expense” has become neanderthal thinking. Public policy must no longer become choices between the extreme poles of a continuum of positions. Einstein is laughing from his grave at our prevailing conflict solving strategies as a relic of the dark ages.
Are we willing to learn how to manage the polarities of opposing thought? See: Polarity Management: The Creative Power of the Conceptual Age Those who are willing to acquire these skills will be leading our culture into the future. An abundant future, rich with potential and innovation. Those who are not, will be seen as relics of an age of scarcity thinking and competitive destruction, fighting for ever smaller pieces of a shrinking pie.
Let’s join Einstein in the laughter. The cosmos is watching . . . and waiting.
This post is dedicated to a group of professionals who dedicate themselves daily to the work of managing polarities. The International Academy of Mediators just concluded its Fall 2010 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. A more accomplished and robust association of problem solvers cannot be found. Thank you, IAM colleagues and friends, for allowing me to join your merry band. www.iamed.org