Resonance


Elicitive workers do not attempt to lend voice to the conflict parties, but instead they seek to create a resonant space in which the conflict parties’ voices may be heard. They know that from the surface of the episode the words and the vibrations of the voices of the conflict parties reach the inner layers of the self and the outer layers of the social context. In this sense, the principle of resonance serves the elicitive worker just like a sonar device might be useful for a sailor. It gives information about the configuration of conflict-sediment that lies underneath the conflict episode and so enables an energetic resonance with it. 


To shed light on the principle of resonance, we can relate here to the Yoga-Philosophy, in which resonance between the inner and outer aspects of being is experienced as peace. If the inner and outer aspects of encounters and relations stay in a relationship that is relatively free from tensions, it is designated energetically and also transrationally as peace, as “calm breath in resonance with the divine breath in the whole world” (e.g. he ping or je wa). This might not be a spectacular or perfect peace, but a dynamic and precarious peace in which there is constant movement but no alarm or threat felt at the contact boundaries. 

This type of peace awakens the disposition of the person to openness, growth, change and activity. Constant freedom from fear invites further contact boundary work and fosters higher risks, creating turbulences in the whole system, which are generally regulated through harmony. However, the risk of rough dissonances is high and can also take violent forms. This, at the same time, can cause third parties to intervene, whether in a dissonant or harmonic manner. This is what technically is then called a conflict.

As such, music metaphors of harmony and dissonance seem also appropriate to illustrate the principle of resonance. Igor Stravinsky has given Peace Studies an important lesson in this respect: Following the classical harmonic teaching of composition, dissonance would demand its own dissolution in higher tones, yet Stravinsky pointed out that a composer is not obliged to comply with this demand. He contradicted the civilizatory prejudice that there is a natural connection between harmony and security, on the one hand, and dissonance and disorder, on the other hand. He opted for a radical extension of the possibilities of creative aesthetics and pushed for the emancipation of dissonance in the post-classical music. In a similar vein, elicitive workers recognize social dissonance, i.e. conflict, as intrinsically valuable for the transformative forces of the conflict itself, and thus refrain from the demands of harmony of prescriptive conflict resolution.


For the elicitive conflict worker him/herself, the principle of resonance further calls for paying attention to how much his/her layers resonate with consistency, organization, authenticity and harmony as a person. Pending on the clarity and dynamic flow of his/her layers, the conflict worker might be able to intervene with success in other parties’ conflicts. Awareness of one’s own conflictive personality is then a paramount element for the elicitive conflict worker to realize that whenever he/she intervenes in a conflict situation, the own layers act as receivers, transmitters and transformers of vibrations in the conflictive system at hand.

In short, within the framework of ECM, the relationship of contact boundaries at work is determined in each encounter by resonances, which vibrate through all intra and inter-personal layers.