This post is inspired by a book I
read devoured this weekend – The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace by John Paul Lederach, Professor of International Peacebuilding at Notre Dame.
(Aside: What a field – International Peacebuilding. Sign me up for that.)
Anyway, The Moral Imagination is a beautifully written book reflecting on the nature of conflict resolution and peace in the midst of chaos, pain, and suffering. Lederach’s thesis is as follows:
Transcending violence is forged by the capacity to generate, mobilize, and build the moral imagination. The kind of imagination to which I refer is mobilized when four disciplines and capacities are held together and practiced by those who find their way to rise above violence. Stated simply, the moral imagination requires the capacity to imagine ourselves in a web of relationships that include our enemies; the ability to sustain a paradoxical curiosity that embraces complexity without reliance on dualistic polarity; the fundamental belief in and pursuit of the creative act; and the acceptance of the inherent risk of stepping into the mystery of the unknown that lies beyond the far too familiar landscape of violence. (15)
The book is filled with powerful stories of transformation and reflections from a practitioner of global peace and reconciliation. The book is aimed at macro-level resolution but speaks a great deal to conflict in general, whether interpersonal, political, or otherwise. It gave me a lot to think about, and I hope to post a few more reflections from Lederach’s writing in the weeks to come.