Brubaker and Follett

In a continuing attempt to figure out how I became who I am, I am sometimes given a break.

My TIVO recorded the movie Brubaker. I remember watching this movie as a child, in the cinema. (I almost wrote “theatre” there.) Re-watching this movie, I have a strong feeling that it was part of why I am who I am. The relationship to authority, and principle are things with which I tend to agree.

I wrote down a section of dialog from the movie that struck me in relation to concepts of conflict resolution.

A: No way to compromise?

B: On strategy, maybe. Not on principle.

A: Damn it, I agree with you!

B: No. No, you don’t.

That struck me because of the mention of compromise. Currently, I am reading works by Mary Parker Follett. (She’s someone you should know about, but probably don’t. Even Wikipedia only has a stub for her.) One notion that she maintained is that compromise was not something that should be accepted. There is what she called a “plusvalent” solution to conflict, which was the best word she had for the idea. Patrick Hill uses the term “tertium quid” for this notion. The notion is that there is a solution to most conflict that meets the needs of all parties, another way which is neither the demand of one nor the other.