I sense a need in the liberty-community to explain to those who are interested in the cause of liberty, why they should pay attention to the work being done in the NVC (Non-Violent Communication) community; and perhaps, in a later post, I may be so bold as to suggest why the NVC community, ought to pay attention to the theoretical work done by the liberty-community.
The following will be an attempt to speak to libertarians, voluntaryists, agorists, anarchists, min-archists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-anything-else-ists, radical-liberals, classical-liberals, free-thinkers and all liberty-minded individuals as to the value of the NVC methodology, and how it is generally, if not perfectly, consistent with the theoretical ethics of the liberty-community.
NVC is a methodological approach that attempts to remove from our use of language, expressions of aggression towards others, that can cause others to become defensive or aggressive themselves; the NVC community, thinks of NVC as a kind of special consciousness, where we listen for the feelings of others, we attempt to understand the met and unmet needs that are being expressed by others and we open ourselves to empathize with those feelings and needs.
Why is this approach of significance/importance to the liberty-community? Have you ever been in a situation, where in your speaking with someone about the ideas of liberty, there comes a point in which the conversation turns awry? Have you ever experienced a feeling of frustration or anger in trying to have yourself understood? Have you ever observed anyone else object to your arguments with anger or fear (“…but what about the roads? How would we have roads?”)? I submit that an NVC consciousness, or at least the methodology, could be critical to overcome the difficulties of communicating the ideas of liberty with others, as those ideas, may naturally provoke emotional reactions of fear and anger in those that are disconnected from their feelings and needs.
I believe we are all familiar, with the harm/damage that occurs to a person, when they experience abuse during their childhoods. Such painful, traumatic experiences can deeply scar people throughout their lives; we in the liberty-community have a need to recognize that those persons that we try to express/communicate the ideas of liberty to, have been deeply scarred by the trauma of living a life under domination. This is why our conversations with others are so rarely fruitful; the trauma of domination is why those discussions aimed at communicating the ideas of liberty, so rarely remain a calm, reasoned analysis of the State and the possible alternatives to domination/oppression. It would probably be foolish, to think that we also have escaped all of the pain and trauma of our lives, lived under societies of domination; so we too, must recognize that when we have become emotional/frustrated in our discussions, that we too are reliving the pain/trauma of domination, transferred to the present.
Logic and reasoning will only take us so far; this is not to say we should stop our works of reasoned analysis, only that, if our goal is to reach as many people as possible with our ideas, if we prefer to negotiate and connect with others rather than draw that deadly line-in-the-sand that would mark the line of our use of self-defense, then we must attempt to make a connection that can overcome the pain/emotions of the traumatic experience of domination and that connection is empathy.
We not only have the experience of our rational consciousness, but we have the experience of having an organic-feeling-body and its attendant sub-consciousness. Our emotions are the alerts/signs of our unconscious mind, that our needs are not being met. Our emotions let us know when the rational consciousness is not attending to the needs of the entirety of the entity (ourselves).
The special consciousness that is developed through use of the NVC methodology, is the direction of the rational-consciousness to an awareness of our emotions, and an awareness of the emotions of others, it is to connect the rational-consciousness with the met and unmet needs of the unconsciousness. With the NVC consciousness, we connect our feelings (both positive and negative) with the needs that are, or are not, being met. When we understand the needs of ourselves and others, we can begin to creatively begin negotiating (with ourselves and others) how we might best meet our needs.
Nearly, if not all, persons have a desire/need to be understood. Have you ever lost a loved one? If you have, did you value the kind words of condolence, or did you value those that were willing to just be with you? My experience has been that most people prefer the latter, and there is an important reason, when we are feeling powerful emotions, we want to connect with others, we want them to empathize with us, we want to know we are not alone in our feeling, that they are willing to share/empathize-with our pain. Empathy is a crucial component to connecting with another person to let them know that their feelings are understandable given their context of met or unmet needs. When we are empathized with, the intensity of emotion is surrendered to the connection; NVC is a methodology/consciousness that may assist the liberty-community to heal from its own scars of domination, and begin to make empathic connections with others, for a future free of domination.
Won’t you join me?
– Jacob Solt from Darjeelingzen