The Greek concept of homeostasis refers to the dynamic equilibrium of open, energetic systems. While homeostasis is used in several academic disciplines differently, for our purposes we borrow its core meaning from Ludwig von Bertalanffy, a pioneer in systemic conflict theory who characterized open systems as being self-regulating. He observed how open systems tend to a dynamic equilibrium: changes in the relationships among elements are due also to environmental changes and thus, while they cannot be foreseen, both getting out of balance and gaining equilibrium are natural processes within the life of individual and of groups. In this line of thinking, we understand homeostasis as the natural urge of a system to return to balance.

For elicitive conflict work, homeostasis acts as a compass over the social map of conflict. Homeostasis gives the elicitive conflict worker the direction to follow, because he/she assumes that when individuals and social systems enter in conflict, they have an urge to restore their dynamic equilibrium.

Following systemic thinking, we understand that a system in conflict is dysfunctional in so far there is a blockage that disrupts the natural urge for dynamic equilibrium. Elicitive conflict transformation attempts to intervene in the dysfunctional system in a way that it acts as a temporary contribution or influx of external energy in the environment that can help clear the blockages. In this manner, the facilitation of the conflict worker ought to be seen as a contribution directed at reestablishing or enabling anew the dynamic equilibrium temporarily lost. Complexity, feedback loops and self-organization of each system prevents developing generalized and so prescriptive rules of conduct. However, it is possible to locate the direction of the urge for balance and the corresponding obstacle or obstruction in a way that the elicitive conflict worker can facilitate overcoming it and thus contribute towards reestablishing the dynamic equilibrium in the system.

In short, the principle of homeostasis refers to the self-regulatory quality of open systems, such as individuals and groups, which strive for dynamic equilibrium. Homeostasis invites the elicitive conflict worker to understand facilitation as external environmental energy that can contribute to restoring the harmonization of intra and interpersonal tensions and conflicts.

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