The mystic and the warrior how to make peace

A Ted talk in which Elizabeth Lesser talks about bringing together the mystic and warrior that coexists within us all. She explains that we can all fall into the trap of ‘otherising’, creating enemies or rivals by the stories that we tell ourselves about people who are different from us in any way. In doing that, we create and sustain divisions in the world. It isn’t always easy as often we can find ideas that other people hold challenging, scary, or even repulsive and ramp up a moral justification for keeping them at arm’s length. On a mass scale, ‘otherising’ is recognised as an essential psychological step that we take before nations go to war. She talks about how we can reverse this process by encouraging open talks and sharing and reveals that she has launched a personal programme she calls ‘take the other to lunch’. A left wing activist, she talks about what happened when she decided to take a right wing activist to lunch. Before they went, they agreed a few ground rules. Neither of them was going to try and persuade the other to change their mind, defend their own position or interrupt. Instead, they committed to going beyond the surface to explore what made each other tick deep down. If you decide to do this, you might not come away from these kind of talks bosom buddies, but you can use this process to build important bridges across divides.