Can there be rationality after a conflict? In principle, we might think no. After a conflict, thinking about cooperating rationally, even if it's for personal gain, seems unlikely. And this fact is even stranger when it occurs in a group.When our group comes into conflict with another, the members of this group will arouse negative emotions in us.Therefore, our behavior will be negative towards them, even if it is also harmful to us.
However, this is not always the case.Sometimes, rationality will emerge after a conflict.When decisions are made in groups, discussions can lead to more deliberate deliberation. As a result, decisions will be more rational, as will the decision to cooperate with the opposite group.
The history of evolution is full of conflict. Some led to the use of violence against other groups.The design of a harmonious life without the slightest conflict is more and more unlikely.On the other hand, inter-group violence seems to have promoted some benefits, for example, in reproductive terms. History also teaches us that we do not only conflict with other groups: we also build trust and cooperation. Both groups benefit from this.
"The point of view in a conflict … Very often, it is not limited to the decision that is made, but to its consequences."
-Luis Gabriel Carrillo Navas-
We are therefore faced with a paradox in which contradictory behaviors coexist. On the one hand, we find cooperation and, on the other, aggression.
After a conflict, there may be emotional wounds that can not be resolved.The parties are unable to cooperate and therefore deprive themselves of the benefits they could have, both economically and in terms of human lives.
To know if we are rational after a conflict, we must rely on psychology. More concretely, the theories that speak to us about decision-making.Dual theory states that there are two forms of decision-making:
- Decisions made after processing the information in a rational way,posed and deliberative
- Automatic decisionsbased on past experience and emotions
In the case of conflict, the other group can turn into a stimulus that automatically generates negative emotions. This association leads us to resort to the second form of decision-making.We will choose to trust our emotions and past experiences.However, this type of decision-making has drawbacks: experience may not be our best ally when evaluating the consequences of our decisions.
"The man will not be wise before solving all kinds of conflicts by the weapons of the spirit and not the physical weapons."
However,rationality, the first way of making decisions, is more likely when the people involved in the conflict deliberate in groups.When group members talk about the best decision to make, they usually do it in a rational way. They are therefore able to ignore their experience and emotions and opt for more rational decisions, such as cooperation.
Rationality after a conflict
The conclusion we can draw about post-conflict rationality is that the group normally has a civilizing role.Even though groups can operate irrationally and put pressure on members when making decisions,they also promote a context where discussion is facilitated. This helps correct mistakes when making decisions.
This applies to current conflicts if we seek a solution. Inviting those involved to evaluate different options will be more likely to lead them to choose cooperation. So,rational thought, as a human faculty, will enable us to move towards a better society.