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Please join me in welcoming Matthew Legge, author of Are We Done Fighting?




Read the book review here!

Matthew will be hanging out in the forums until September 6th, answering questions and sharing his experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a drawing for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of his book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the Communication forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email.

The winners will be notified by Purple Moosage and must respond within 24 hours. Only the winners who respond within that timeframe will receive their book. Watch for a PM, and a notice in this thread announcing the winners!


Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Matthew's name to get his attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.
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master pollinator
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Welcome Mathew...

We have had some good discussion on your book of late, and it seems like a very interesting read. I do a lot with drug rehabilitation and homelessness, and it takes getting to the root cause of issues to stop the real problem. Your book addresses those root problems. Sometimes my idea of prevention is somewhat aggressive compared to others, but it at times it can work.
 
author
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Travis Johnson wrote:Welcome Mathew...

We have had some good discussion on your book of late, and it seems like a very interesting read. I do a lot with drug rehabilitation and homelessness, and it takes getting to the root cause of issues to stop the real problem. Your book addresses those root problems. Sometimes my idea of prevention is somewhat aggressive compared to others, but it at times it can work.



Thank you Travis. How does your work prioritize prevention?

In Chapter 9 I briefly discuss the issue of identifying where to work to address a conflict. It can be really tricky. One thing I've seen is that I may have one idea about what the cause is and the other person may have a different idea, and that itself can generate some spin-off conflict...

I was really interested to learn that Peter Coleman (a psychologist whose work focuses on conflict dynamics) did a literature review and found that all these different authors were explaining that they'd found the primary root cause of intractable conflicts like Israel/Palestine. When he added all these "principal causes" up there were 57! That may actually be the reality of working on complex and emergent problems though, which homelessness and drug issues certainly are.
 
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Welcome, Matthew! Very good topic you got there....
 
gardener
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Welcome Mathew! I always figured that some of the most important things in life, like communication and child rearing, seem to be "learn on the job", "absorb by osmosis" sorts of things, when in fact, many people need instruction books on how to do it well as a start, and good role models to practice on! I will head over and read your book review.
 
Matthew Legge
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Jay Angler wrote:Welcome Mathew! I always figured that some of the most important things in life, like communication and child rearing, seem to be "learn on the job", "absorb by osmosis" sorts of things, when in fact, many people need instruction books on how to do it well as a start, and good role models to practice on! I will head over and read your book review.



Thank you Jay. I think there's a huge role for learning by experience and so the book is not prescriptive or offering a "these are the rules" or "this is the checklist" type framework. The book has experiential activities because I think that it's important to learn by feeling and by trying things out for ourselves, not just reading about them.

What I've tried to do with it is to collect all kinds of stories about what has worked for people, and to see why this may be the case based on evidence from scientific findings. Much of this content goes against a lot of "common sense" out there. I've learned a ton in this process and I hope that it's presented in a way that's easy to get into, take something from, and use.
 
author
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Hi Matthew,in the process of leaving an eco village after 10 years of unharmonious group dynamics. As a permaculture designer, I have been doing plenty of evaluation of what we could have done differently to have lessened the fighting. I've been aware we never had an explicit group vision and in a design that feels essential. A vision board or graphic representation to explore the diversity of our visions for the project is one technique I would've used. What's your thoughts on a) initial visioning and b) reclaiming a project that's gone sour through vision building techniques? Thank you!
 
Matthew Legge
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Jasmine Dale wrote:Hi Matthew,in the process of leaving an eco village after 10 years of unharmonious group dynamics. As a permaculture designer, I have been doing plenty of evaluation of what we could have done differently to have lessened the fighting. I've been aware we never had an explicit group vision and in a design that feels essential. A vision board or graphic representation to explore the diversity of our visions for the project is one technique I would've used. What's your thoughts on a) initial visioning and b) reclaiming a project that's gone sour through vision building techniques? Thank you!



Hi Jasmine,
I work for Canadian Friends Service Committee, the peace and social justice agency of Quakers in Canada. A few years ago we realized that we didn't have a shared definition of "peace." There can be benefits to not having things too rigidly defined, but it was also creating problems for us - making it tougher for us to decide when a piece of work was or wasn't appropriate to take on for instance.

So the lack of a shared understanding of where we wanted to go (we did have a vision but it was so broad as to not help us much) meant that while we weren't all on totally different pages, we did have differences that were largely hidden because we weren't trying to come to a shared vision. There was enough confusion that it was leading some of us to feel overburdened and exhausted.

One of the reasons this book now exists is because we did the difficult work of trying to come up with a shared definition of "peace" that worked for us and we found it was still quite holistic and broad, but just doing the exercise gave us a new focus and has really helped. We also made structural changes to decision making processes, etc. I can't say that such positive outcomes will always happen of course, each group is different. Also there are so many different ways of planning and orienting a group's efforts and evaluating whether things are working or not (they often have fancy names like results-based management, social-drama topography, or participatory narrative inquiry). I don't get into those kinds of tools in the book but there are lots of free resources online and of course one can always seek out the help of experts.

One thing to keep in mind when working with groups is more to your second question - the dynamics of who's involved. Will they speak up, what are the "mainstream" positions in the group and what ideas or identities does that, not necessarily consciously or deliberately, push to the "margins"? Group change is really benefited by knowing where the margins are and listening to them. That can be tough to draw out and painful to hear, but once it's on the table, if skillfully navigated, it can be rejuvenating and transformative. Chapter 15 looks at group dynamics, and they come up in some other areas of the book too.

Chapter 16 has an example of really difficult dynamics playing out and I suggest a few tips but one often overlooked one is to take a break and do something to feel good physically before returning to the difficult conversations. We think we're more rational than we are, but if our bodies don't feel good, that will have impacts on how we engage with each other. Any trust building exercise might help though, again depending on the particulars of the group.
 
master steward
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It's my favorite time of the week--time to announce the winners!!!

Congratulations!

Kenneth Elwell
Michael McKay
Pavel Mikoloski
Amy Arnett


I'll be sending each of you a PM--please reply by Sunday to claim your copy of the book!

Many thanks to Matthew for joining us this week in so many thought-provoking discussions!
 
Matthew Legge
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Nicole Alderman wrote:It's my favorite time of the week--time to announce the winners!!!

Congratulations!

Kenneth Elwell
Michael McKay
Pavel Mikoloski
Amy Arnett


I'll be sending each of you a PM--please reply by Sunday to claim your copy of the book!

Many thanks to Matthew for joining us this week in so many thought-provoking discussions!



Thanks to everyone for the great discussions. I really enjoyed them. I was recently reading a book by media theory prof Douglas Rushkoff and he argues: "We can apply the insights of permaculture practitioners to education, social justice, and government: look for larger patterns, learn from elders, understand and leverage natural cycles." What you're doing is important and inspirational and I wish you all the best with it!
 
Jasmine Dale
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Thanks Matthew for your careful reply.I will take your points very carefully and aim to buy your book. x
 
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