Resolving Conflict/Ending War/Beyond Beyond Dispute



viable syntegration

Last updated 2nd March 2004

Allenna Leonard, John Clarke, Rosemary Bechler.


Iteration One

Beyond “Beyond Dispute” is before “Beyond Dispute”.

Decouple identity issues from the Syntegration topic.

Identify desirable conditions that enable Syntegrations to succeed:

  • Sufficient difference and disagreement
  • Justice
  • Accountability
  • Be beyond positional bargaining
  • Participants must be willing to be there
  • Participants must know why they are there
  • A leader, not a cipher
  • Is thirty always enough for requisite variety in 3 – five days of meetings
  • How do we propagate the outcomes (to be discussed tomorrow)

Iteration Two

We must demonstrate the value and effectiveness of Beer’s Syntegration to:

  • Address situations in ways that preempt conflicts;
  • In real time;
  • In a positive way.

Popularizing Beer’s Syntegration can deepen democracy, as shown in the following insights:

  • The 1998 Israeli / Palestinian Syntegration held in England needs to be more fully written up for dissemination.
  • We could profit from more research into the ‘tipping points’ that signal where such interventions promise to be successful.
  • Distributing mutually linked mobile phones among opposing combatants takes much of the incentive out of fighting.
  • More fundamentally we should explore how Team Syntegrity itself can be adapted and evolved, such as doing licensed usage with contingent fee pricing offered as financial speculation on the promoters’ part.

Other Insights:

  • Proliferating Beer’s Syntegration is not about licensing, but popularizing non-esoteric decision making.
  • Enough bite in the Sytegration topic is crucial; it must be sufficiently compelling to drive away other thoughts. Otherwise personal angst is all that gets vented.
  • Computer-mediated natural language translation (faulty as it is) nevertheless overcomes barriers of class, nationality, and ‘identity politics’.
  • No matter what a participant’s fluency, education or class background, s/he must have present a vocal representative of one’s perceived interests.
  • By structuring the Syntegration to render inequality of knowledge not an issue, then subversive breakthroughs become possible or even likely.
  • We lose the possibility to enrich and build when infoset members ignite over necessary differences.
  • The most productive infosets consist of persons who each know very different things rather than the same things.
  • Alternative modalities or means are needed to de-intensify the frustrations infoset members drag in with themselves. Extremists ignore possible resolutions.
  • Unemployed young men in large numbers are poisonous anywhere. This fact renders terrorism borderless, and tends to suggest when a military solution is the only resort left.


Outcome Resolve

We humbly undertook to ‘dissolve’ the enduring problem of human aggression. It runs the full gamut from one person’s internal conflicts, to nation-states waging all-out war. We advocate:

  • Exploring anew the fundamental nature of human conflict using insights from the VSM & TS.

We sense a substantial potential that the related VSM / TS approaches might resolve much more than is achieved now.

  • e.g. Where there is too LITTLE controversy there is premature agreement, so the timing dynamics are always a crucial issue.
  • e.g. The Sytegration topic must be sufficiently mature to permit seeing all the ‘fracture points’ that open the space in which to reach compromise.
  • e.g. A Placing Issue is whether or not the articulated positioning has reached sufficient ripeness to be susceptible to fresh results.
  • e.g. The identity of invitees to a Syntegration is routinely a criticial variable.

Different combinations of participants for Syntegration become possible when the topic of the new Syntegration changes. This beneficial characteristic tends to overcome rituals and conventions becoming pathologically autopoietic.

Apparently unresolvable tension inside the S3-S4 vortex may not be inrreconcilable since this type of dispute is a sign of systemic health, not disease. It is mainly hotly contending combatants who can not bring themselves to accept just one S5.

  • VSM / TS may succeed in replacing sclerotic conflict with creative conflict.
  • A Syntegration topic must be truly compelling. Otherwise the uneasy infoset will revert to the persistent antagonisms that have lingered long after the initial cause has been forgotten. The subtle injection of VSM / TS into the malevolent offers hope of success in overcoming a culture’s approval of violence. Similar approaches have worked at:
  • e.g. The ‘Community Arts’ success in Liverpool.
  • e.g. The Street Theater approach.
  • e.g. Youth clubs for the underprivileged.
  • e.g. Other civil society resources such as the law courts.

Applicable circumstances to deploy the VSM / TS approachs wax and wane for:

  1. Pre-Conflict -- our methodology is very strong;
  2. Immersed in Conflict – our methodology is questionable; and
  3. Post-Conflict – our methodology is very strong.
  • VSM / TS when used as a ‘silent catalyst’ can obviate the need for violent conflict.
  • VSM / TS model furnishes excellent redundancy of potential command.
  • VSM / TS offers some hope for creating ‘community immunity’ against HIV / AIDS, because functionally the methodolgy is an anti-virus.

Take the S.B. paper ‘World in Torment’ and revisit, reread, reapply to the present. Earlier Syntegrations can also be reexamined for overlooked insights.

We urge that this panel’s work product be handed on and continued by the group who dealt with the gap between Politics and Governance.

We also suggest that a Syntegration be done involving representatives of other conflict resolution and group process methodologies to examine our question. It could be an advertisement for their potential in these situations.