|5+1 group and Iran: ‘win-win dialogue’||
Human history has been full of wars, genocide, and exploitation of man by man; and despite all his abilities this wonder of creation has not been able to utilize the potentials of the world to attain happiness and salvation. Throughout the course of history, a common policy for the settlement of disagreement, dispute and lack of understanding has been confrontation, war and bloodshed.
Perhaps the greatest cause of disputes and animosity among various cultures and nations can be attributed to a lack of knowledge and general awareness regarding the thoughts and principles of “others”.
Unfortunately, the century we were putting behind us has been fraught with tension, violence, war, inequality, tramping upon man’s dignity, infringement upon the rights of oppressed nations and practicing a double standard in political and legal Affairs. The roots of such instability can be seen in the principles, beliefs and approaches of some who view the world and the human community with egoistic and tribal attitudes, sacrificing justice, freedom, independence and all the fundamental rights of others to greed and the sanctification of their own power.
By the critical assessment of international relations of the past, we must reflect upon a future in which all human beings and all societies will have a share. “Peace” ought not to be interpreted as forcing the world into reconciliation and “globalism” should not be defined as self-alienation and assimilation in a domineering culture and global uniformity.
We are at the beginning of a long journey in which respecting man, sharing and cooperating with one another, are reconsidered through dialogue. In the world we know, all relations once assumed to be certain, are now open to a thorough reconsideration and reconstruction. Dialogue, collaboration and mutual ties are indispensable elements for finding solutions that consummate on the establishment of a viable peace and a bright future.
Bold questions, rather than relying on pre-determined answers, in search of new definitions and fresh amendments for designing new cultural, mental and political plans are a necessity. A new paradigm for understanding today's world and moving towards a sustainable peace is necessary, and “dialogue” can be assumed as a “permanent paradigm” for realization of a lasting peace.
The meaning of dialogue
The word dialogue is derived from the Greek word dia-logos meaning piercing the logos to reach the trans-logical realm. It is the emergence of a catalyst that breaks through its territorial, civilizational and cultural entrapments. It frees us to function in a universal ambience. It is a quest of the highest values that are not encumbered by limits. It is human aspiration to reach the top of the value-hierarchy.
It is an unhindered and constant recreation of ourselves whereby we grow into citizens of this earth as well as citizens of heaven. It is the opening up of constantly emerging “illusions” that go on fading out so that the future lives in cultural autonomy and scientific freedom.
Dialogue is a carefully organized conversation with open minds of all participants.
Hence, any “dialogue” as a medium needs a framework and a specific literature and therefore dialogue is not a simple, accidental, aimless and ambiguous conversation. Therefore, dialogue is a kind of conversation and interaction that follow a path and looking for a goal to reach the Truth.
How dialogue commences and how it concludes?
The dialogue commences peacefully, continues peacefully and the outcome is “peace”. Hence, the issue of "dialogue" and “peace” are inter-related in three stages:
1. The introduction
2. The realization
3. The outcome
Dialogue requires peaceful relations. You cannot encourage dialogue and understanding with treachery, jealousy and hatred, so to introduce dialogue we must have peaceful intentions.
As dialogue is moved ahead, each side should try to understand and not negate the other. So again we need a peaceful relationship, both in individual, social and psychological areas.
Naturally, the outcome of such dialogue would be a peaceful one, we can sum up as follows, “More dialogues, better chances of peace”.
The main obstacle
One of the main barriers is caused by an attitude called Ethnocentrism. This attitude or worldview makes people perceive and value the whole world though the spectacles of their own culture.
Perceiving the world in this way makes it difficult or even impossible to understand what people of other cultures, feeling, expecting and intending.
While people locked into an ethnocentric conception of the world, consider their own thinking and acting as an expression of intelligence, healthy human behavior and rationality, they perceive what people of other cultural origin are thinking and doing as expressions of stupidity, madness and offence against the natural moral order.
It should be easy to understand that ethnocentrism is a grave obstacle to all dialogues between different cultures and nations.
To find out what makes people to perceive the world in this way, I suggest to differentiate between an epistemological and psychological approach, and an approach which concentrate on the political and ideological factors.
From the first point of view, ethnocentrism can be explained as a variant of what means an early stage of mental development, like it is described by the Swiss philosopher and psychologist Jean Piaget, in his theory of knowledge, he described the world of small children as centralized on their won person. This mental condition he calls egocentrism – not to be mistaken for egoism!
Egocentrism make it difficult or even impossible to imagine the feelings, intentions and wishes as well as the point of view of another person. We all remember the situation when a small child is covering its face by a scarf, believing to be invisible.
Another example, when a small child is asked to say what would be a nice birthday gift for grandmother-he suggests a doll or something like that.
Overcoming the egocentrism, Piaget describes it as the process of decentralization, which on the one hand is a process of mental maturing, and on the other hand is influenced by the environment.
Therefore we find big differences according to education, class and culture.
If, for the moment, we consider ethnocentrism as a variant of egocentrism, we can say that on the level of epistemology and psychology, ethnocentrism is at the first instance something natural. Ethnocentrism allows people to feel sure and in harmony with their own society and culture. But ethnocentrism also promotes nationalism and racism, discriminations and feelings of superiority. If we had in every moment to retrace all point of views of different cultures we would never come to any action.
Europeans, for example feel superior because of their economic and technological progress, human rights, science and the opera. Muslims feel superior because of the Islamic moral order. My objective is not to discuss, whether these feelings are justified or not.
Only I want to emphasize that these feelings are not a result of conscientious reflection, because Europeans generally don't take into consideration who has paid for the welfare and what are the human and ecological consequences of these developments.
Whereas Muslims tend to neglect the difference between Islam as a guiding “theory” and the reality of Muslim societies.
At the end, I should mention; these days at the threshold of last round of serious talks between P5+1 and Iran, the interests of a “win-win dialogue” is something beyond the interests of both parties and if this dialogue move toward a peaceful and Just conclusion, the results of this agreement belongs to the international community and benefits human race. We all hope so.
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