MBI-MOOS Discussion Topics

As we discussed in the introductory materials, we are going to try a consolidated discussion forum, where we have a relatively limited number of discussion topics, and are encouraging everyone to discuss these here on the MBI-MOOS discussion pages.  If this goes well (meaning the discussions are productive, interesting, and respectful), we may try to expand them.  But for now, we are starting with a relatively limited number of discussion topics, each linked to one or more Frontiers Seminar Posts.  They are listed here.  

 If you want to comment on any of these, first, please register as a "discussant", (you only need to do this once, but you will need to log in (at the upper right corner of the page) each day to make a comment).  Then click on the links below to find the discussion board on each topic.

Unit 1: Introduction – Why Intractable Conflicts Matter—To Everyone! 

D1: Taking the Conflict Problem Seriously:  How can we get people to realize that our “business-as-usual” approach to conflict is destroying our ability to solve our biggest problems? (This question can be interpreted in several ways.  These ways are discussed and several subsidiary questions are asked on the discussion page

D2: Fostering Constructive Approaches to Difficult ConflictsHow can we get the general public and our politicians beyond the finger-pointing, us-versus-them mode that has kept us bogged down for so long? What can people in the conflict resolution/peacebuilding field do to help make that happen?  Again several related questions are posed on the discussion page

Unit 2: Business-As-Usual Approaches.

D3: How can "Business-as-Usual" approaches to the conflict field be adapted to be more effective in complex, intractable conflict? .

D4: How can we "take the blame" out of the Red-Blue Divide and other similar conflicts? How can we reframe in terms of each sides' contribution to the situation, and how would that reframing affect the parties' relationship?

D5: Emotion and Reason: What is the proper (and actual) balance between emotion and reason in decision making? How is that balance attained?  And how do these questions relate to facts, "alt-facts" or "fake facts," propaganda and decision making in what is being called, by some, the "post-fact" era?

D6: Tolerance: Should (and if so, how can) one tolerate those who don't tolerate others? And if one shouldn't, then how do we avoid a perpetually-escalating spiral of hate?

D7: Dealing with Large Scale Conflict: Most conflict resolution processes are "table oriented," but our more intractable conflicts involve millions of people.  Are there effective ways to "scale up" our table-oriented processes?  Are there other processes that work better at these large scales? 

D8: I'll Fight-You-For-It-Rules: Are we really falling back on this approach to conflict and disagreement?  If so, what can we do to reverse that slide.

D9: The Backlash Effect: What are good examples...of the effect itself and ways to avoid it? 

D10:  Developing a New Peace and Conflict Paradigm: What ideas do you think need to be part of the new paradigm that takes us farther than herding cats or peacebuilding? And what do we need to remember to include from older paradigms?

D11:  How Do We "Get Smarter" and What Does that Mean? What does "fighting smarter" or simply "getting smarter" mean?  How does the peace and conflict field need to "get smarter" to be able to transform or resolve today's intractable conflicts? And how can we best use the MOOS to pursue such a goal?


Unit 3: Introduction to Complexity and Systems Thinking - Theoretical Antecedents

D12: What and Who Did We Miss in this "Literature Review"?   We have two discussion questions that relate to this entire unit. First, what other ideas from the people we have talked about have you found to be particularly useful in your work?   And second, what other people should we include in this "literature review" of the "founders" of the complexity-oriented approach to peacebuilding?  Please give us details!


Unit 4: Moving Further Toward a New Paradigm Of Complexity Analysis and Action

D13: Grappling with Complexity: What do you see as the key challenges posed by complexity that we need to address? How can we do that?  And how can we  get people to understand and engage with complex problems in the era of twitter, sound bites, and the common belief that everything can be solved with a chosen "quick fix?" 

D14: Adopting Systems Approaches to Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution/Transformation - What can we do to push the system thinking approach further into the conflict resolution field?  Do you have examples of this being successfully done--either among professionals or  citizens engaging in a systemic "ecosystem"-type response?

D15: Constructive Management of the Commons: What do you see as promising strategies for promoting “power-with” efforts to govern the commons in ways that advance the common good? And how do you avoid "I'll Fight You For It" responses to commons conflicts? 

D16: Conflict Pathologies: What do you think are the most important and treatable conflict pathologies? The things that go wrong and common mistakes?