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Dialogue #21

Decisive action (Shih Ho)

Metaphors: Biting through


Social When faced with deliberate hindrance to integrative development, a dialogue must take a just measure of decisive action against those responsible. Such hindrances increase when norms are unclear and there is negligence in ensuring that they are respected.

Sub-conditions:

1. If the dialogue responds mildly to any initial departure from norms this should constitute sufficient warning against repetition of the infringement (Resulting in: Progress).

2. If the response of the dialogue to frequent infringement of norms is excessive, this should not be regretted since the results are merited. (Resulting in: Opposition).

3. Although no other course is possible, if the dialogue lacks the power and authority to back up its censure when norms have been infringed, strong negative feelings will be engendered against it, placing it in a somewhat humiliating position. (Resulting in: Normative constraint).

4. If those infringing norms are powerful, the dialogue can only succeed in censuring them by acting with great clarity and force. (Resulting in: Support).

5. In order to respond impartially, the dialogue should be constantly aware of the dangers associated with the responsibility it has assumed in censuring infringement of norms. (Resulting in: Spontaneity).

6. If those infringing norms fail to respond to censorship by the dialogue, misfortune inevitably results. (Resulting in: Crisis preparedness).

Transformation sequence Rather than acting crudely, decisive integrative action calls for a graceful style. (Resulting in: Style).


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Earlier version in 2nd edition of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986).

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