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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021


Duddy is convinced that the experiences of group relations conferences gave him the confidence to embark on and sustain his peace venture. He believes that everyone in this audience possesses the capability of achieving similar aims. What has Duddy learned from the experience of making peace? Authority arises from the inner world of the person, accepting the presence of the unconscious. An authoritative role demands the ability to tolerate mysteries, doubts and uncertainties. The role begins to be formed in the mind from concerns. The person has to create a system in which the role can have reality. Once an embryonic system is in place the role can be made. In negotiating with opposing forces no preconditions have to be established. No political power can be used otherwise the role holder is co-acting at the same level; colluding with unconscious assumptions. The negotiator creates a third space in his mind for the transformation of closed thinking to a cooperative one. During negotiations the role holder learns to tolerate mistakes. Borrowing from Kant, can Duddy be seen as having achieved 'transcendent realism' in the negotiations? He was able to deal with the objects of the IRA and the British Government in reality, seeing them as a result of historical processes. The 'transcendent' element lies in the fact that the objects hold significance and meaning beyond immediate comprehension, only to be inferred, and he had the task making peace between the two, i.e. transcending the two.The purpose of this Dialogue is to explore the learning gained from negotiating between antagonistic groups.'