Charismatic and Wrathful Civility
Two blogs ago, I spoke of pacifying or peaceful compassion and how they influence civility. Here, I want to address those situations where people are not on the same page, even adversarial.
Magnetizing Compassion – Here, one meets with resistance, indifference, views more rooted in the Three Poisons. To influence this situation, the power of persuasion, the use of charisma, a more emotional/feeling-based approach becomes necessary to rally support for the desired direction/action/outcome. How can we attract those we need for successful action away from the “dark side?” The focus of the conversation should be contrasting the consequences of unskillful action versus the rewards of skillful actions. To do this, while the presentation is more at an emotional or feeling level, the tone needs to be one of rationality; that one has carefully assessed the situation and wants to be informative for everyone’s benefit. The tone of civility here is that of the Statesman or Evocateur. TheREACTIVE PATTERN to safeguard against Manipulation (especially through inappropriate flattery, etc.) A useful phrase: “What are the pros and cons…?”
Wrathful Compassion – Here, you are dealing with intractable people or a very difficult circumstance. Thus, confrontation or action to prevent action/decisions that are deemed harmful is considered necessary. This is always truly difficult to know if this is, in fact, the case. Hence, the three internal wisdoms need to be fully practiced. The Wisdom of Equanimity may be hard to practice in engagement as there is obvious conflict. Thus, one needs to be sure that no advantage is being taken or power employed just simply because you can do so. While the words or actions used may need to be stronger than you would normally use, perhaps even harsh, the use of this form of compassion must be rooted in love and humility. That this is the basis of the action taken will be seen in feelings of remorse or regret that actions of this nature needed to be enacted. If possible, to express this remorse or regret can be a necessary salve of civility in order for the party on the receiving end not to feel that you are merely acting in the REACTIVE PATTERN of Vengeance or Revenge. The tone of civility here is that of the Protector. Because this form of compassion and its civility has the potential of bearing the most heat of passion, staying focused on the issues rather than going after the personality or character of the person or persons can be more challenging. If one were to be rating civil discourse, probably any discourse that involves the degradation of another’s character would be the lowest and most regrettable. But, then again sometimes in social and political arenas, humiliation may be a necessary component in confrontation and/or stopping harmful action. But, I would argue, that it would at some point, yield backlash that has to be addressed with a deeper sense of remorse. A useful phrase: “I regret to inform you…”
For more, watch “Civility Speaks, Podcast #8”