Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Dusk
Dusk
Sun Dec 16 18:03:25 2007
Reflective Harmony
Topics:

An idea I'm playing with (not one I'd advocate presently, and not one that is necessarily new)..

Illustrated by an internal survey by the IDF which showed that 25% of responding checkpoint officers had "taken part in, seen or heard from colleagues about acts of physical or verbal abuse". I believe it's reasonable to assume that ideal handling of these checkpoints would be to remain civil to those passing through them while still ensuring that appropriate paperwork is present and verboten materials are not. There's difficulty in achieving this, partly because civility is a hard thing to write directly into law, and partly because establishing a good mechanism to prevent any declarations on the desirability of civility from being empty proclaimations is difficult. Would it be possible to arrange interests and procedures so as to inspire greater harmony?

Instead of weaving through the more "solid" parts of the state like laws, laws and social arrangements might be used to provide a series of possible escalations for tensions. These escalations should be designed so as to both provide opportunities for justice and make interested parties realise that while they presumably have a primary interest/duty to their narrow interests, making the arrangement work smoothly and equitably is also an important interest, and deviations from that are not "free". In making this arrangement, there should be as much amount of back-and-forth costed opportunities for escalated retailiation between the parties as possible. Each step must be costed - not every small problem demands escalation to the highest level, those uninterested in cooperation (as always) will attempt to manipulate the system to destabilise relations, and the matching of scope of injustice to scope of response requires a feeling of appropriateness - neither too great nor too little.

A first go at applying this idea to this situation might be to first have constant multiple webcam-based monitoring at every checkpoint and a token court of arab Israelis, international observers, or a broader body that would certify that an altercation took place that requires nonsummary judgement. On that judgement, the border guards would be sent to a court in the territories where they would be judged and sentenced, if necessary, again with monitoring possible by the whole world. The overall justice carried out in those courts would help determine which and how many checkpoins to keep open, providing both local and global pressure to be fair, and this in turn affects both economies and political relations with the rest of the world.

On a rough level, this is a basic feature of human relations (and perhaps even evolutionary biology - see reciprocal altruism) - tit-for-tat-with-escalation scales from the individual all the way up to large groups. Explicit recognition of this and engineering it to smooth relations and create a deeper "theory of mind"/larger identification between groups is something I haven't seen much of (possibly due to ignorance).

Somehow my sleep schedule has slipped around to waking at 16:00 and going to bed at 07:00. Oops. It's probably partly due to the sun not existing in Pittsburgh this time of year.

From Dark City:

Prolonged isolation... Can things be a waste of time when time is itself the problem?