Encountering Conflict Essay

1355 words - 5 pages

Throughout history, conflict has been an prevelent force for human beings, shaping our lives and interactions with one another. Conflict is ultimately the greatest paradox because when we react to conflict, it can often reflect the worst of our nature. A clashing of ideas has been important throughout history, as it tests the complexity of the human condition, exposing flaws, similarities and ideologies within our personalities, consequently, giving society a chance to strengthen and grow. Human beings are fearful of what is foreign or unknown to them either to the eye or within the mind. When humans are wedded to notions of difference and locked in their own sense of righteousness and notions of cultural superioty, a collision of ideas can highlight the ignorance within our natures and actions. Moreover, when we encounter conflict, our sense of greed and need for control of others is often illustrated in our actions. Though conflict highlights the worst elements of human nature, the manner in which society has encountered conflict throughout history has also highlighted our capacity to perform acts of valiance. In times of injustice, people become willing to stand up for what they believe in despite the social norms or consequences they face they selflessly recognize the rights of human beings and pursue justice.When people are faced with beliefs or concepts different to own, our response can often be to feel fear. This fear tests our ability to form appropriate judgments and causes us to respond irrationally in times of conflict, based on our need to feel secure. Similarly, such reactions to fear are often derived from a sense of ignorance, which stems from a notion of wanting to be secure, highlighting the cyclical nature of conflicts where the roots of conflict more often than not, contain the seeds of another.This trait can be seen in Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American' through the character of Pyle who's fear of Communism spreading across Vietnam and Indochina, causes him to become an instrument in the establishment of a "Third Force" in Vietnam. "he was armored by his good intentions and his ignorance". When Pyle enters Vietnam he is ignorant of the Vietnamese culture and ideals and is fixated on the creation of a democratic system of government within Vietnam. Despite Pyle's exposure to the suffering of the Vietnamese people in Phat Diem and the child soldiers in the watch tower, his view is unwavering as he chooses to ignore the impact of the war on innocent civilians, ironically stating 'you have to fight for liberty'. It is this detachment from the Vietnamese people coupled with his immense fear of the spread of communism, that enables Pyle to become involved in the detonation of bombs in the Place Garnier, where he justifies the deaths of the innocent children and women, as being part 'of the cause for democracy.' Such a staunch and steadfast view Pyle exhibits causes him to sacrifice the lives of others in the name of upholding...

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