IF WE want to solve our nagging national problems, we have to replace our culture of defamation with a culture of dispute resolution. Unlike the former which serves only to muddle an issue, the latter clears up the haze that drapes over it and leads to its closure or resolution.
In dispute resolution, the goal of disputants is to resolve the issue and not to defend their respective positions at all cost. They converse, not really dispute, with minds open to other people’s ideas. This openness stems from a humble and ego-less acceptance of the incontrovertible universal fact or truth that no one person, group or institution has the whole truth; but that everyone has one or more facets of the truth.
In dispute resolution, all players have their egos in check and hence are capable of compromise; whereas insults in a culture of defamation are at bottom projections of a bloated ego and clearly not a rational exposition but an emotional defense of one’s position. Defamers are incapable of compromise as this deflates their over-inflated egos.
In dispute resolution, disputants respect persons and disagree only with their ideas. They respect persons by countering ideas with ideas, not with insults. They show respect by validating premises and accepting or rejecting propositions on their intrinsic merit not on stereotypes and prejudices. They know insults and defamations are the ego’s subjective defense mechanism that hides objective truth.
Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS), for instance, insulting the opposition as Yellowtards and, vice-versa, Yellows calling defaming DDS as Dutertetards only serve to exacerbate the problem and do not in any way advance the cause of the Filipino people. Lest we forget, what is at stake is the nation’s common good which in a culture of defamation takes a veritable backseat to ego and ambition.
In dispute resolution, people painstakingly search for more rational alternatives to the other side’s propositions. In a culture of defamation, all people need to do is think of a worse insult or a more rotten egg to throw at one another.
From the above, one easily sees that without a culture of dispute resolution, we cannot have bi-partisan plans, programs, and projects for the common good. Issues are never resolved when everybody thinks theirs is the best idea or solution to the issue at hand. Issues are never resolved when “know-it-all” people or institutions prevent a healthy and respectful exchange of ideas and consequently bar a consensus or compromise on the most appropriate resolution of an issue.
In our culture of defamation, “Never the twain shall meet.” We need to move towards a culture of dispute resolution where, for the nation’s sake, “the twain must meet.”