Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkin Time

Someday I hope to see Koreans competing for giant pumpkin thanks to a local Nova Scotian who first put the pumpkin giant into Halloween jack o'lanterns for many Maritimers.

It is funny but Kentville continues to go with the "pumpkin people" theme at this time of year decorating the entire town with clumps of these seeming scarecrows but they have yet to produce mammoth pumpkin totems out of Dill's Atlantic Giants. They could perhaps construct some sort of strawman-type display and top it off with Atlantic Giant heads.

Sadly not everyone ascribes to the pumpkin people festival. But it seems to remain a crowd pleaser.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Relevant, complex, useful articles

Relevant, complex, useful articles

Working Paper: Finding A New Way For Business Schools

Teaching Business Across Cultures: A First Person Experience

Teaching Business Communication to Native and Non-Native Speakers

Teaching Entrepreneurship to Engineers

The Value of Mentoring Can We

Succeed In Teaching Business Students To Write Effectively?

Literary Models for Teaching Business Ethics: Shakespeare's Henry V

Distance Learning Across Borders: Cultural Imperialism or Intellectual Independence?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Latitude Zero: Satisfying Armchair Travel Guide

Latitude Zero: Satisfying Armchair Travel Guide

Latitude Zero: Tales of the Equator by Gianni Guadalupi, Anthony Shugaar, Carroll & Graf, new York (2001)

This title is a thoroughly enjoyable compendium of equatorial travels sourced by the authors almost entirely from the original accounts and documents of the explorers made famous for their exploits. Thus it is truly an example of how much more wildly entertaining and educational is non-fiction under such unbelievable circumstances as the diaries and meanderings of global explorers often are in the realm of fantastic fiction while honestly, foolheartily gallavanting through pestilence, plague, and the lands of the nyam-nyams more often than not for greedy aims. Their goals were just as often likely attributable to some intrisically valorious purposes such as presuming to measure the Andes mountains or claim this or that mythical lake for a could not care less royal monarch at home.

For obvious reasons, such as heat, scorch, malarial swamps, war-like locals and the odd sea-monster myth, the far reaches of much of the world were left for intrepid Portuguese to discover, perhaps northern tribes of Europe excluding the Vikings really initially preferred to let the flat world belief system keep them home among the ice floes and bitter salt fish. However as the authors note the promise of easy gold pickings among the South Americans drew the most despiciable of first European entrants alone to the field of greed-inspired exploration if early rape and pillage of the realms of the conquistators could really be considered exploration at all even with Raleigh among them. So it is hard to ameliorate the likes of these Southern Europeans with the happy, go-lucky image which the northern tribes attributed their lack of get up and go concerning global trade and exploration. While the English cannot claim Atahualpa on their notches of global conquest, they could explain the likes of Aquitaine and their rather wretched management of the Gascons during The Hundred Years War with similar covetous aims.

So the sections of this title are broken into manageable, digestable morsels to crumb the armchair reader with the diverse characters and stories relating to this man-made zone of demarcation, this proverbial equator of science and geography, which credits Amazons, government surveyors, lovelorn lost wives, and nude German baronesses for adding their acts to the vast play of historical accounting of South American discoveries over the last few centuries. The section on Africa is truly alarming and gives some context to the state of chaos which seems to delicately reign over that continent which must be linked to the actions and activities of explorers like Burton, Speke, Baker, Grant, Henry Morton Stanley and Dr. Livingstone as well as the incessant slave trade recounted of through their stories which repeatedly pitted one opportunistic tribe against another in endless displays of the root of human evil. It seemed then as it often seems now, that exploration was and is always about some purposes imposed from afar on local issues and intrigues which seem to take no account of the people milling around yet another discovery.

The final section of this book is a look at Asian equatorial events including Magellan, Sir James Brooke, Krakatoa and Robert Lewis Stevenson among the Gilbert Islands all written in an engaging and colourful style which gives tribute to these stories with intelligent narrative. It is nice to see them so collected, well drawn and arranged to entice the reader to pick up the book with an interest in short story cycles. There are various means and methods to enjoy this book. Simply turning to a chapter of interest will suffice and by no means would this book require a linear procession from front to back. It makes it much more interesting to read it randomly. Leave straight line learning to those with a real interest in where the equator truly lies. This book re-establishes the realm of the equator in those who sought out its dominion so often at the very cost of their lives, fortunes, and infamy. Latitude Zero holds all to the light of high noon and unwaveringly shares their stories as the present so often improves with such accounts of the past.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

EDC Announces Online Training in Export Management

EDC Announces Online Training in Export Management

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Become a member of CFIB and benefit from reduced pricing.

The Clock of Time Analysis


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Shakespeare's Sonnets


When I do count the clock that tells the time,

My professor used to say this one so clearly defined the passage of time...even the sound of the clock...

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

...the passage of life, from life to death and light to darkness...

When I behold the violet past prime,

...the curdling of youth and beauty, the maturing of innocence to experience...

And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;

...Shakespeare wrote of the dark lady here, never named with her hair turning white...

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,

...seasons symbolizing life and death...

Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, image of pastural beauty turning again to the warmth removed from the herd...

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,

...the end of harvest time, the kimchang...

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

...the bier is a coffin's carrier, Shakespeare speaks of his own death and his own age...

Then of thy beauty do I question make,

...he questions the beauty of the dark lady, remembered only by him as in age it is gone...

That thou among the wastes of time must go,

...that she also will die old and sick and worn down...

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake eventually abandons the body even of the beautiful youn

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

-- John Masefield

UOW Makes THES Top 200

The University of Wollongong has been listed in the Times Higher Education Supplement Top 200 World University Rankings.The THES-QS World University Rankings list the Top 500 universities from an estimated 15,000 institutions across the globe. UOW was placed in the Top 200 list, ranked 196.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Review Four: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Four: Beyond Machiavelli: The Chaotic World of Choices

There are indeed glorious individualists who stubbornly insist on telling the truth as they see it, but most give in to the majority opinion, obey the atmosphere.When put as baldly, as unflatteringly, as this, reactions tend to be incredulous:"I certainly wouldn't give in, I speak my mind. . . " But would you? People who have experienced a lot of groups, who perhaps have observed their own behavior, may agree that the hardest thing in the world is to stand out against one's group, a group of one's peers. Doris Lessing (b. 1919) (From a lecture in 1985)
This quote begins my little review as it appears obvious that negotiation strategists themselves operate within a limited scope of understanding the subtle differences attributed to the sense of self possessed by individuals in its host of cultural influences and the tendancy of strategists to project a western-defined sense of self on their conflicting competitors more often than not of incompatibly diverse cultural values. Thus Fisher et. al. contend with global conflict in a context which never fully realizes a group understanding of the historical vertical or horizontal integrations of perspective on previous attempts of remedial action, response, proposals, or compromises in terms of comparative values theories and research. They charge the topic of raising an examination of choices to conclude that conflicts continue to remain unresolved as the necessary steps to the present have not raised a working model of peaceful coexistence between parties. First, past events are tagged for analysis in terms of interpreting the message that has been sent and as it has been received while second, analysis of decision-based processes that have resulted due to the analyzed messages are discussed. However nowhere are comparative or dualistic values discussed other than their effects in the obscuring of the message rather bureaucacies and governments are similarly depicted as being merely images of each other while vastly differentiated cultural structures.
Three basic elements of communication are considered useful for analyzing the message.
1. Demands: What we are heard asking for;
2. Threats: What we are heard as threatening as a result of demands not being met;
3. Offers: What we are heard as offering if our demands are met.
Demands are described as requests for action involving elements of unstated wishes as well as the legitmacy or reasonableness of the objectives required. Threats are described as the results of not meeting demands such as warnings about consequences which are considered only as effective as the clarity, credibility, and thus probability of actions determined by the quality of the message. Good results are considered the benefits of accepting an offer and are also considered determinant on the quality of the message.
The first example illustrated makes clear the illogic and simply emphasizes the flaw in US policy regarding North Vietnam and a bombing campaign of direct threat without clear options or results of offers or demands and is perhaps problematically an example of the flaws in this cookie-cutter approach to international negotation. Considering what successive US administrations knew regarding the unwinnable aspects of that conflict leads a reader to suspect that resolution was never an outstanding issue among US policy makers. However to emphasize a respect for such process review, the near impossiblity of sending a clarified message in the world of today is made clearer by the fact that no forms of media can precisely excise the transmission of accurate messaging between parties from great gulfs of cultural, linguistic, and interpretative differences, especially those most relevant to an understanding of the values associated with or between individual versus group senses of consciousness. It is intrinsically difficult to anticipate the processes of individual versus group cultural values as they exist in variances across cultures. It is thus difficult to anticipate the choices available between conflicting parties under states of analysis which themselves are often inaccurately depicting the status or state of individual versus group cultural conditioning. While Fisher et. al. observe this clearly they do not focus themselves on how to make their model more palatable to such realities.
As Fisher et. al. note the key decision makers are often difficult to identify, the decisions which are most favourable to both parties are equally difficult to at times justify, while consequences of any decisions are observable only under conditional forecasting theory and prediction of outcomes or results which do not exist in vacuums but are continually effected by the passage of time from present to future. Therefore charts which make clear distinctions of currently perceived choices may be totally inaccurate when measured under the assumption that individuals outside a select group of western nations might actually perceive individual choices in such a manner. While description of measurements of choices available to Saddam Hussein prior to the Gulf War are given as evidence of their usefulness it must be assumed that such processes were equally incorrectly utilized to predict Iraqi cultural behaviour and reaction and thus inaccurately predicted their response to US led and long-term occupation which appears to have changed in the interim passing of the years.
Furthermore, if it is the responsibility of decision-makers and negotiators to effectively influence their conflicting competitors through perceptively altering their views of their own choices it is already fairly common knowledge that effective choices are not only the most discretely difficult to change even among western educated and highly individual adults, even those simply ploddingly attending bazaars in their own companies training programs. The results of such efforts are equally as difficult to measure and or evaluate in terms of success or failure. For one to assume that one size fits all in terms of negotation strategy or that one size subverts all in terms of intercultural negotiation would be fairly imperialistic in terms of perception of choices in the past, present, or future. While it appears to work to some extent for multi-national companies it has yet to prove itself among many global conflicts. It is dramatically clear that many conflicts exist boldly along cultural divides well and beyond the local hotel ballroom seminar group, thus attempting to construct future choices for peoples and decision-makers who never fit the mold of past or present choices as perceived by western academics must be a possible factor implicating negotiational failures when observing some conflicts which never seem to be resolved yet flare and linger again like viral plague upon various parts of the global hotel.
These notes would indicate an overall skepticism suggesting neither party may successfully estimate the past, present, or future choices made particularly in the cases of non-western entities, nor the persuasive abilities of western mindsets to accurately predict the future concerns of foreign cultural entities among their conflicting competitors may triumph without perhaps increasing the unsatisfied quotident of intercultural understanding first. Again my conclusion would be that one must assume a benchmark of rational thinking over the last few decades in many terms and cases absent from several western-inspired negotiations, Vietnam included as Fisher et. al. suggest. This leads at least one individual mind to surmise that application of such ready-made methods to inter-party influence is often too purpose led rather than peaceably inclined and might explain again why such conflicts remain unresolved. There is always a suspicion as in the case of Vietnam that purposes often rule out resolution due to the interests of both parties. Too often one appears to desire to dominate and the other often simply resists through spite. However better some form of cookie-cutter than none at all? It certainly appears to cut more corners than are available.

Link to Tragically Hip

Link to Tragically Hip

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A little halloween fun

[Received from Lori]
A little halloween fun to cut and paste.
[Sent to Lori]
Dear Lori:

Yet another snub to English Majors and Yorick's skull? An appropriate game for us teachers hanging around S.Korea though.

Wish some Lebanese-hyphenated and loud Canadians moved over here for the next little while. There are only about 7000-8000 Canadians here about 30% of them legally. At last count we will not be hitching any rides with the US military. We are like Mexican migrants to them somehow.

On a more sombre note, ugh, midterm exams are coming around again, always too soon. I love dithering over exams so! So they blew up a hole in a mountain; big deal. Please note in the event of imminent attack I will fry up like a pork steak - send some cannibals with seasoning - it will be a great roast.

I guess I would rather that then crawling around the Seoul subways which already are quite stinky by the way. My fried ghost will gloat over the fact that the fall-out will blow right back in their faces.

Staying until the end of my contract and I will not leave unless forced out by the blast shockwaves. CNN really meatens up the bone - I am sick of the news reporting that passes for credible it sticks in my craw.

Cheers, Danny

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Korean Harvest Festival: Chuseok 2006

Dear Bex:

Well I am glad to hear from you especially because you are heading out this way but also because you are a kindred English major which always helps catch my attention as I believe in most countries it is a dying humanity. You are just the nobody who might appreciate my little story and I am in a PC Bang, one of dozens of internet enabled games rooms where it costs as little as a dollar an hour for internet service.

Today is the second to last day of the longest annual Chuseok Harvest Festival Holiday held for two days usually over the harvest moon and a third day added to give the millions of recent city dwellers time to visit their hometowns. This year it coincided with another annual holiday so most people took the middle working day off as well making it five days straight. I guess you could say the first Korean friends might generally be the ones you keep the longest as I still have a few in the little fishing port town far down on the south coast.

Two guys who were students in my first adult class ten years ago both called and asked me to eat with their families this holiday. It is not the first time, but it was the longest trip I had to make by bus so far, I left at 8:00 at night from my home and arrived at 3:30 in the morning there. Twenty dollars paid for a simple yogwan/inn room and then around noon I crawled out of bed and picked up some bottles of honey and raspberry wine to bring as gifts. But my friend wasn't home; I arrived at a little traditional farmer's home and slid the little door open and slipped my gifts inside while a little chihwawa yapped and growled in the yard.

I then went to the bus terminal and had a "jung-shik" or standard meal which includes rice bowl, local vegetables in a brothy stew, and various preserved vegetable side dishes including a small dish of halved cockles in spicy garlic sauce. A whole small fried tilapia was also there for all lookers, head and all at a price of about four fifty. Reserving a more comfortable room costs about forty dollars so I took one close to my first apartment building near the sea shore.

My friend called just as I was stepping out of the shower around two o'clock and I went back to his place to meet him, his wife, and two daughters. I was at his wedding in 1999 and his daughters are now four and seven. His parents are farmers and in their mid-seventies both quite bent in the back. The first thing I did was go to his father's room and pay my respect and accept his welcome. Then we were free to go and have some specially prepared festival foods, dried fishes, fried fishes, small snacks, candied sweet potatos, and the season fruits, thick skinned grapes and large cold sliced "stone pears."

Then we met two women, one I worked with at hagwon also ten years ago and the sister of my old boss. Went out for tea at a special shop next to a brand new eight kilometre bridge, then took a ride over to an island where we used to ride bikes, and stood on the dock watching the full moon glow over the sea coast and surrounding islands.

Afterwards my friend Seong Cheol had to meet his brother's family just arriving so he left me with the ladies and i went o my boss's mother's house where we had often gone in the two years I lived there. We ate a dinner of similar prepared foods and fish stew again finishing off the meal with stone pears, and since Kyung Hee's mother was passed out from cooking we snuck a small dram of Chilean wine out from under the stove.

That evening I slept until 3:00 but the moon was calling so I walked the ten minutes down to the large harbour with about a hundred and fifty fishing boats again to look at the moon over the water. Slipping back into bed at dawn I slept until 8:30 and then returned to Seong Cheol's for breakfast at his mother in law's house and met his in laws and played a little with his kids.

Around eleven I received a call from Kang Jeong Hwan, now Vice Principal of his school (he was a Chemistry teacher when I taught him) After knocking at a few wrong gates in his mother's village we arrived at his family home. I met his son who was also my student and whom I had not seen in eight years. He is now a design student.

One Mr. Kang left me with another Mr. Kang and he and his wife took me deep into the countryside in an area called Hadong where I almost worked. It took an hour and a half to make it up a steep and rutter small track of road to a hillside valley full of agricultural industries. We arrived at a traditional bee keeper's house who sells a special honey and plum concentrate which is very refreshing when mixed with water and ice.

Then we took a short detour and climbed again to a green tea master's house who grows and sells his fermented and dry green teas exclusively to Buddhist temples. It was the first time I have met a master tea maker and also the first time I have seen a man make and pour a cup of green tea. So I bought some for my friends as well as myself and on the way back to the Jinju City, I thanked them so much for their warm welcome yet again, and let them know the reason I came after all.

My friends, "I come to see you because I miss you and love you."

So that's my story. Korea can be a pretty amazing place sometimes. It is the right people and not always the right job that makes all the difference.

Cheers, Danny

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Review Three: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Three: Beyond Machiavelli (Beyond another man's moccasin)
Fisher et. al.
Penguin (1994)

The point of good negotiations strategy is not ultimately outdoing the competition which may be so much harder for developed world advocates of multi-party talks and Harvard-inspired negotiators to realize than they think. The whole purpose of resolving conflict must then be an ability to reach beneath the skin of an argument and find a better one, perhaps one that not only suits a combatant more discretely, but reflects the kind of knowledge and resepect for cultural differences than often meets the media pin hole but usually only penetrates global consciousness in bouts of fire, mayhem, or spectacular misfortune.
Fisher et. al. advocate an openess to partisan perceptions in some attempts to understand them in the hopes of discovering some aspects of a perception or patterns of perception which may be addressed or met through dialogue. However increasingly, as the pervasiveness of technologies and media demands portray perceptions in phantasmagorias of increasingly oblique, increasingly obtuse, increasingly polarized views of the world thus an entrenched opposition to dialogue only becomes more non-constructive. It is the sway of the media which often outlines the abusive reorientation of values through the same marketing formats which mostly finance news today.
Television has taken us to the brink of mindlessness as one negotiator said something to the effect recently on CNN that in reference to one of many global crises, "more brainstorming is required with stronger emphasis on brain..." However too truly television stimulates only a soma-like induced wave-length in the human brain, not useful for framing horizons of future forecasting or even permitting scant access to long-term memory. Television excites only a very small portion of the frontal cortex, that associated with short-term memory. The reading mind, in the converse, makes the brain fire the likes of spark-like waves, which makes me think of flint tools, which links the mind not only to a currency of thought in the short-term but constantly encourages a referencing to long-term memory and forges the diverse interconnections between symbols, patterns, significances, necessary for a conscious driven control, interaction, and evaluation of inputted data.
Fisher et. al. remind the reader that the mind is learned and taught how to process new information, what to consider relevant, what constitutes constructive thought, what constitutes destructive thought, what is deconstructionist (as some reviews may appear to be) and what in fact consititutes no thought at all. Which is the point in view, feelings and not thought often drive a higher number of decisions made due to conflict than reason alone. So attempting to put on those moccasins is not necessarily abstracting or distracting the mind but perhaps engaging the feelings required for amelioration or the challenge of righting a wrong. As none feels the feelings of another then trying to draw the perceptions of competitors is not a pointless exercise. It takes the same amount of creative ingenuity to compile a SWOT analysis. Fisher et. al. exemplify the concurrent and divergent perceptions of Syrians and Israelis dredged out of thirty years of unresolved, simmering conflict to make this point.
Such drafts are often then presented to parties involved to try to gauge accuracy and try to assess the quality of the excercise itself, which in itself may provoke a dialogue to make diverse positions even clearer. This is termed an essential step toward building credibility between parties. However, the current state of global media appears to encourage the opposite effect among people. There is the mistaken perception so easily, confidently made upon the face value of events and situations, through a desire for easily understood messages, to implicate with interpretation rather than to address competitors directly. Indirectly many stereotypical tendencies are fed by a desire to paint a picture rather as one sees it rather than as another would prefer. As Fisher implies these attempts at understanding the viewpoint of a competitor will encourage empathy, in many cases, while often it seems knowledge of others is often treated more as a weapon than as a bridge building exercise. At the same time, deep knowledge is often so rare, it is often never attributed with credibility. It might even seem many individuals might seek to refute credible knowledge rather than put it to prosperous usage in the possible resolution of conflicts when the net benefit is often continued conflict to avoid other possible resolutions or concessions.
Fisher et. al. suggest exactly that, basically that the surface elements, those most easily known, easily transmitted to the satellites and media of the world are often merely a veneer on deeper issues, just as the past twenty years have seen the largest outflow of FDI from developed to undeveloped countries, these same unresolved seemingly perpetual conflicts might simply indicate some deeper, effective flaws and disadvantages to the free flight of capital and global exchange policies. How far and how long can the moccasin serve if the direct effect of global media has served to unlearn the brain from the storm?

Review Two: Beyond Machiavelli

Review Two: Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping With Conflict
Fisher, Kopelman and Schneider
Penguin (1994)

This triumverate details well the necessities of defining the tools described in this book. First of all they reiterate the perpetually refashioned adage that the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place therefore we must all attempt to get along better than we have in the past. However true this may be it has nearly always been said, at least as far as conflicts are concerned. H.G. Wells detailed the eminent threat in flavour at the turn of the last century in his introduction upon the super-gun, one capable of propelling its projectiles further and faster than any gun coming before it with a dread and fin de siecle grace which always appears to accompany such of the latest prophecies of doom.
So it leaves a reader positing that mankind (reserving the right to include womankind and even itkind in this proverbial discourse reference to a singular aspect of humanity and thus if humans are someday discovered on other planets I will then so refer to mankinds) has developed increasingly complex communications, technologies, logistics systems, investment, and global trading vehicles to the greater benefit of spurring yet further innovations but at the same time has not yet provoked or even balked at a similar adaptation between warring or conflicting folk which stabilizes and can be universally applied to suit all competitors. However it might be overly simplistic to assume that since there is no way of actually evaluating how many of these tools are already in common use, it would stand to logic that many of them are as more and more cultural groups meld and interact in any network of affiliations further and further to the benefit of a globalized framework set to enshrine such tools as the phalnax of standard worldly negotiations strategies.

Perhaps the writers are not in fact claiming any great properietary interest over the formation of these tools or seek to profit from their suggested assembly yet it could be possible that through the wisdom of their experience they have simply and considerately dragged and sedged over a useful trove through their experiences or searches for what works and seek to gather them together to differentiate them from those that do not do the job. In so doing they are holding them up each to the light of a reading mind hoping that this alone may impart the spark to action which many seeming negotatiors may need to retool in keeping with categorisation of what not only currently works but perhaps what has nearly always worked to define mutually self-interested parties. In effect, mutual profit for conflictors must not only be implied but tangibly real. Ploughshares must not only be deeemed preferred there must be a demonstrable winnowing of reapable furrows.
So the first chapter is necessarily that of defining a purpose and as in a paint by numbers, oil or gouache one must purposefully plan first by setting the horizon, looking to the future, and painting in the details to reach it or achieve it over the long term. These writers seek to generate advice in the theme of The Prince. However this example might not necessarily be the best one, advice is almost always rarely asked for and even more rarely followed. One must agree however that any hopes for resolving a conflict must include:
  • Forming a means of analyzing a particular conflict.
  • Using an agreed upon set of useful tools for deciding why the conflict exists and what are new steps available to approach a solution.
  • Persuasive evidence and material to suggest, predict, or forecast the effects of any of a number of courses of action.
  • Immediate actions as defined from end purposes to begin the trek from unresolved to resolved.

As far as on paper planning goes this all looks and feels logical. However as the authors reveal later in this book the hurdle is immediate, personal, and often unassailable. Are conflicts resolved because Harvard strategists put forth a plan for resolution? Hardly and as their examples will illustrate some of the world's most pervasive, polemical, and downright perpetual conflicts illustrate resistive and irresolute natures or apparently implacable cases of global conflict which seem to evade every enlightened, or thus educated (as I will assume educated to mean in the enlightened sense) attempt to reign them in sooth them and pacify them.

It is obvious then that some players in the field of conflict, thus competitors insist that resolution is not the purpose of conflict. Such would be the case perhaps where one feels another set of tools, perhaps guns and bombs, might be more useful or another set of horizons would be preferred, perhaps that of perpetual unrest. As one may divine from several history books, there are pockets and parcels of the global world where one may argue peace has never in fact reigned. So thus is the question, "Under certain cases, and certain conditions, to what degree are global cultures capable of establishing conflict resolutions which have perhaps global origins yet are provoked from no past precedents and are thus completely alien to local concerns?" Under such cases the arguments against perceived imperialist influences might be justified. One man's solution is almost as often another man's cause for further or renewed conflict. While many agree doing nothing is not a solution, does the world not only grow smaller because fewer and fewer people appear to play pivotal roles in deciding not only the horizons and tools for conflict resolution, but also the particular conflicts to attempt to address and those others to neglect?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Review One: Beyond Machiavelli

Review One: Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping with Conflict
Roger Fisher, Elizabeth Kopelman, Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Penguin Books (1994)

In lieu of personal rehydrating liquids this book accompanied me back and forth across the Pacific and the North American continent twice withering my attempts to complete a reading of it. Early on I am forced to conceed that the precepts written of in the form and shape of this rare glimpse at the mindsets of those engaged in the goings on of the seeming twilight of backroom negotations and strategic compromises (or lack thereof) present in the amalgam of globally unresolved, perpetually reframing crises contextualized in this book leads me to suspect that the formula on concrete resolutions is still not fully realized or that fully too few people have read or completed reading it. So I am not the only one.
If one gave such conceptual tools to apes perhaps they might swing about forcefully, perhaps even vocally lauding its contents, and after successive fumblings or half-hearted attempts they might even strike a few bunches of grapes into some localized hollow stump and thus begin the fermentation process to produce a wine of palatable universal taste. So too it seems the application of these tools to conflict resolution be it in the sphere of international trade or even political intrigue. The question must be answered as it rarely is in this book, "Who or what is this Machiavelli we should seek to exceed or outdo under a contemporary framework of conflict?"

A deep description of this character is not here required as the purpose of his relationship to "Beyond Machiavelli" is just as cunningly vague. Machiavelli is the perpetual shadow of reputation versus the concreteness of actions ascribed to individuals, where the mere depiction of abuse of authority or knowledge to the benefit of backroom advantages distills an aversion to respectful dialogue between two negotiating entities to the rightful inclusion or exclusion of said reputational shadow or shadows. That figures of popular political authority attempt only to maintain some semblance of impartiality real or imagined to impart an ability to represent and enact accordances, agreements, contractual arrangments, and subsequent amendments with the interests not only of nepotistic totalitarians, but with a flavour of the greater portion or thus majority of parties concerned. This beyondness is uniquely the timeless maneuvering of competitors in the realms of business and government. Fisher et al appear to seek to define the tools as the ultimate advantages to resolution rather and not the skillfulness of the tool bearers then themselves? As one may read, even a poor tool can be made great by a skilled artisan. However at what point do the ascribed tools then become outmoded, outdated, or even in beyondness refashioned or redefined to the reach or capacity of the common man to envision, grapple upon and then utilize effectively?

These may be described as the aims of this book, namely, to set about the scales and measures of accomplishing compromise solutions among fairly resolute competitors engaged in zero sum game eventual outcomes. However there is a bitterness to the reader to realize that the pains and jostling of carrying such tools into seeming battle itself mirrors the trends and trackings and even the perpetually unfinished business of retooling endlessly retooling entire swaths of cultural combatants on the global stage. As the lessons encapsulated within this book are only ever bitterly learned there in themselves are the teachings of Machiavelli unfully learned or read widely enough to ascribe the true nature of character to reputation and thus resolution to bitter compromise.

Monday, October 02, 2006



When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange -- my youth.
Sara Teasdale