What is the origin from which all conflict stems? What do you believe is the main cause of conflict? Does it stem from the failure of people to understand each other? The inability to compromise?...

What is the origin from which all conflict stems?

What do you believe is the main cause of conflict?

Does it stem from the failure of people to understand each other? The inability to compromise? Fear? Ignorance? Greed? Anger? Resentment? A desire to prove one's strength and dominance? An inevitable flaw in human psyche? A combination of all these factors?

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict basically begins as a difference of opinion. From there, the difference is either rationalized and then resolved by mutual agreement or becomes a debate, argument or disagreement.

Due to cultural differences, location, circumstances, gender and so on, conflict stems from a very centralized position-"my way or the highway" is a commonly asserted point.

Testing boundaries is customary in all Western cultures and allows for parameters to be set and norms to be established. When those boundaries are unacceptably breached, there is potential for  conflict.

I do not believe that conflict stems from any human "flaw" - it would be far too easy to dispel blame if this were the case. Rather it stems from a breakdown in COMMUNICATION and there are many forms of communication. Misunderstanding a person's intentions causes a communication breakdown and can instill fear, anger and resentment.

Teenagers consistently and historically misunderstand their parents' intentions and conflict is often the result. Only years later, as adults do they have an appreciation and understanding that comes with maturity and often when they have teenagers themselves-Mom was right!"

Competitive people often come across as arrogant and in sport, for example, there is a lot of conflict due to MISUNDERSTANDING and having different GOALS or objectives. Sports people though, usually although not always, have a team spirit which in the end prevails and full-blown conflict can be avoided internally. We do need our athletes to have a self-confidence second-to-none in order to achieve the great heights we expect Unfortunately, though some do go too far - look at Lance Armstrong - and many of the regulating bodies established to manage and protect athletes experience in-fighting and conflict between organizations causing all sorts of name-calling. This is what happens when you get so many competitive people together who obviously do not want to compromise as that would mean losing. So their conflict stems from their drive and desire to win at all cost.    

Sometimes conflict arises because the other person - or governments, institutions etc - is simply wrong. Human rights abuses are rampant in this world due to selfish, egotistical, greedy perspectives: these are not flaws, not inborn "marked" inherited characteristics.  

On this much larger scale, the greed, need to dominate and consequent inability to compromise asserts itself. They say that power corrupts and unfortunately it does but, in this world, we still get those truly amazing people - Nelson Mandela, for example, known as "Madiba" the world over - who restore our faith in human nature and make us realize that conflict may be within us but it is STRENGTH of CHARACTER that allows us to raise above it; be the one to compromise and be "the bigger person."

So I would say that conflict stems from a personality trait relating to allowing compromise; to a sense of right and wrong; to misunderstanding boundaries; to ego; to ignorance; to fear; and to a failure to UNDERSTAND OTHERS, which prevents  accepting a different perspective or negotiating an agreement.