Conflict v. Contempt

Every year I watch Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. That brought to mind a book called:


(Funny name I know! It was a fictional creature in Lewis Carroll's 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass and his 1874 poem The Hunting of the Snark =)

The book is mostly about J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis and their time in the writers group they founded called The Inklings that met for some 20 years.

Lots of good advice inside for writers. There’s also some insights for community-building and conflict management. Especially for us PeaceWalkers.

For example:

The inklings was like a mastermind but was also a community.

And without it the Lord of the Rings especially would be quite different.

In fact, Tolkien fans can thank C.S. Lewis for it being written at all.

Lewis basically had to nag & prod Tolkien into finishing it.

Yet, Tolkien had an extreme… dislike… for Lewis’ Narnia books.

And so there was certainly some conflict there.

But what there was not between them was contempt. It was always mutual respect, with an “iron sharpening iron” effect, and the two helped each other in so many ways I am not even sure there is a book that could possibly cover every single way they did so without it being probably a 2,000 page tome of its own. All the Inklings had this dynamic to some degree. And it wasn’t until the conflict started turning into contempt when the group broke up.

By contempt I mean not honest disagreement.

I am talking about literally trying to shut someone down altogether.

It’s a very insidious effect.

And I would not be shocked if that is how many relationships and communities end.

Certainly a lot of social media platforms have encouraged it. Not only by the nature of what the bigger platforms do to some people, but the very rules and biases of some of these platforms feed into it, shutting whole discussions, posts, and even entire accounts down instead of letting natural and healthy conflict arise, sharpen, repel, strengthen, and humble as it should - most often due to a shrieking sob sister or low T mush cookie who doesn’t want their feelings hurt or their opinions challenged. 

Bottom line:

Conflict in a community can be good.

It's also probably the best way ever invented for getting engagement.

But contempt?

Not so much!

And there's no place for it in this community! Or any community that wants to be healthy and constructive!

Keep going,

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