reconciliation principles of rpg
Reconciliation as viewed here is seen as a developmentally grounded, dynamic healing process. Developmental in the sense that one element of reconciliation is foundational for the next element (elements being Truth-telling, Listening, Change through a functional grief process, internal Integration, Dignity gained through a healing forgiveness, and Unity that is both peaceful and sustainable). Dynamic in the sense that the reconciliation process is a living process found within the nature and make-up of every human being. Reconciliation is much more than a single event or even a series of events. It changes us, how we see the world, and our place in it.
Injustice is regarded as a form of traumatization. Trauma as defined for our purposes here is “being forced into overwhelming grief whether suddenly or over time”. Overwhelming grief is the human response to radical changes and loses that overwhelm our ability to integrate them into our lives, making overwhelming grief and traumatization synonyms. Unresolved trauma and ungrieved grief can keep its victims wounded to their core for a lifetime, if left unhealed. Grave injustice of this nature leaves in it’s wake a form of PTSD at the individual and, if perpetrated on a social group, at the societal level. Injustice of this nature is an offense against our basic humanity, and as such, both the victim and the perpetrator are traumatized. Both need their own kind of healing.
beyond restorative justice
Transformational restorative justice is needed to heal this kind of trauma. Reconciliation that leads to sustainable restorative justice must be transformative in nature. Each actor in the narrative needs to be changed. If the reconciliation process is anything less than transformational the gains made are at risk of being limited and short lived. However, we as human beings are the weak link in transformation. We naturally resist change. Gandhi is often quoted as saying, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” Transformative reconciliation is not quickly or easily achieved. Perhaps Gandhi was ultimately saying that the way you change the world is one person at a time.
the need for change
There are so many survivors of grave injustice in the world that we have come to think of it as normal. It is not normal. It is only normal in a “culture of violence” (physical and “passive violence” as taught by Gandhi to his grandson, referred to in “Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on atonement,” Cousineau, 2011). In an entrenched culture of violence transformative restorative justice seems novel and somewhat out of place. It is even suspect. Whether it is a dysfunctional family or a dysfunctional society the task of changing things is huge. To see where we are going (and to decide if it’s worth it) we need to stand on the shoulders of giants who have ”seen the Promised Land”. Martin Luther King, Jr., was just such a giant. His dream is not yet realized, here in the waking world, but he thought the journey was worth it. So do I.
a new future
Elements of reconciliation at the social level are among the factors and forces that contribute to moving a society forward along its course to national maturity. A “young” society can grow and develop. America is young. It’s identity as a society is not yet fully formed. There are still questions to answer and changes to be made. We can move on from being a culture that has been content with the taint of injustice to becoming a “more just society”. The “American experiment” can be more than a test drive of the ideals of freedom and democracy. We can strive for a fully matured culture where reconciliation and transformative justice are as normal as baseball and apple pie. (see “In the Courts of the Conquerors: The ten worst Indian law cases ever decided”, W. Echo-Hawk, 2010 and “In the Light of Justice”, W. Echo-Hawk, 2013” for an insightful review from an Indian Law perspective)
5 points of reference
Elements of reconciliation that we try to engage with here are: 1.) recognition that there is a problem, 2.) understanding personal “readiness” to face the problem, 3.) seeing the trauma bonds that bind us to the problem, 4.) finding the attachment relationships necessary to get us through the problem, and 5.) finding a framework resilient enough to handle the task of healing trauma, to name a few. These are basically all questions that ask, “Are we ready to give up the old solutions and find new ones?” The goal of this website is to translate reconciliation elements into action principles that operationalize reconciliation in the hopes that it will contribute to personal healing on the individual level and to support transformational justice on the social level.