The Worldview Skills Book
~Transforming Conflict from the Inside Out
“The world has much to learn about reconciliation
between indigenous people and their colonizers – the oppressed and
their oppressors so to speak. Jessie Sutherland’s book, Worldview
Skills: Transforming Conflicts From The Inside Out may well be the insight
that provides the greatest potential for bringing about the needed healing
and reconciliation that must take place. It has the potential to provide
the spark required to bring real peace, balance, and harmony...Heart by
heart, family by family, community by community is the most appealing
way to bring about reconciliation and this I have learned from Ms. Sutherland.”
~ From the Foreword by Chief Robert Joseph, Hereditary
Chief of the Gwa wa enuk First Nation, Chairman of Native American Leadership
Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation
Book Reviews “Oh Canada…
Got Any More This Smart?”
"I really, really like this book. It came as quite a surprise.
I’m an unreconstructed conflict maker, a radical taught in the sixties
by folks who learned in the forties and fifties, a product of my tutelage,
influenced in some degree by Gandhi the unrelenting, Huey P. Newton and
the Black Panther Party (you know who was there because of the way the
accents come out, and we always use the “P”), Martin King
(the one everybody hated then, not the one everybody loves now) and Franz
Fanon and Jesus the Angry Carpenter, Che Guevara and Saul Alinsky and
even a dose of the Berrigan brothers. I’ve survived in the Social
Change biz by learning to listen, to respect the work that other people
do, to attach myself to people who are speaking for themselves and shy
away from experts. It’s been a great ride.
Here comes this tall Canadian with a rap about conflict and culture. Ok,
I’ve seen plenty of both. I’ve seen the tools of conflict
resolution used to blunt the anger of the oppressed, and the dreamy eyed
middle class white kids hungry for meaning fawning all over anybody’s
tradition but their own, trying to act Black or Brown or Yaqui or Eastern
or African or whatever. Mostly it’s just embarrassing.
But I’ve known heroes and heroines who’ve had their culture
stolen, for whom the sweat lodge or the Dreaming or the Hungarian word
for that cookie or the Irish word for that hat or the smells of Italy
or the right dance music is revolution, at least a part of it.
And I’ve seen those who speak up for themselves out of their pain
torn apart by the hatred it created, unable to accept the victory when
it comes, unable to match policy triumphs with personal peace.
So I read it.
There were a lot of things I liked. First, Jessie Sutherland speaks from
real experience. She works alongside people who’ve been harmed and
are acting together to get redress, and to change policy, and are seeking
peace and wholeness – so this is no idle speculation. She tells
stories from the Australian, Canadian and US context and from European
and African situations as well. Tough to pigeonhole.
Second, she takes on the negatives right away – how false reconciliation
has “distort(ed) and falsif(ied) its true meanings…”
I like that.
Next, she doesn’t tell me I have to become someone else to do the
work. The line that stood me right up when I read it is this: “…worldview
flexibility is … the capacity to be loyal to one’s worldview
and engage across worldview difference.” So the fake self-deprecation
and insistent ‘see the other side’ rhetoric is dropped early
in this book, and that’s part of its genius.
Ms. Sutherland explains things simply, and in a variety of ways. There
are concepts, illustrations, stories and lists of techniques, so even
hide-bound non-feeling older intellectual white guys like me have something
to grab onto here. There are practical steps, and a conceptual framework
they fit into – the Four Touchstones for Reconciliation is a favorite:
drawing on the fundamental worldviews of the parties themselves; transcending
the victim-offender cycle; large scale social change; and timing and tactics.
She expands on each, and has practical ideas for bringing these touchstones
into our work.
There’s a catch, of course. Although the ‘loyal to my own
worldview’ idea drew me in, there’s plenty of challenge here,
to truly understand my own worldview, to build my world-viewing skills,
to bring my life into line with my worldview, and to reach across, listening,
into another’s. I have to say she really got me when she quoted
Robert Service, the grizzled poet of the Gold Rush. “It isn’t
the mountain ahead that wears you out,
But it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” The challenge to
‘do our own personal work’ will be a stumbler for many who,
like me, have years of practice in critiquing others… She’s
persuasive, as she’s entertaining, intellectually engaging and moving.
I’d read the book, if I was you.
“When we transform our pain into purpose, turn enemies into friends,
develop an intimacy with nature, and share our gifts with the world, then
we will know we are the spark for a new era rising out of the ashes.
Buy The Book
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Learn more about Jessie Sutherland.
Not everyone likes to buy a book without having had a chance to browse through a chapter or two to make sure it's what they want.
Worldview Strategies understands this, and that's why we are offering you a free PDF download of Chapter 3 of our new book - Worldview Skills: Transforming Conflict From The Inside Out, by Jessie Sutherland.