Deep Discernment:
Discovering Bedrock Values

discernment photo

Even compassionate people sometimes tolerate harm to others when they believe that is the only way to protect their own well-being. When conflict is reduced to us vs. them, few people willingly choose “them”.

Discernment helps us avoid this no-alternative trap by clarifying the fundamental values at risk on both sides of a conflict. Social environments become coherent and sustainable when they take into account what matters deeply to all willing cooperators.

Three practices are helpful:

  1. Distinguish values from means
  2. Be vigilant about accumulating harms
  3. Honor multiple points of view

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