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Latest update: July 20, 2000
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Rambo and the Dalai Lama

Review and Essay by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Part of Peacemaking Identity Series
Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, June 2000. "Fair Use" encouraged.

This essay is based on Gordon Fellman's Rambo and the Dalai Lama, State University of New York Press, 1998. The text reads well, and extrapolates many of the ideas that Leo Buscaglia presented for individual social relationships to a general analysis of why we choose adversarial approaches over peacemaking, or what Fellman calls "mutuality."

In Chapter One, at p. 4, Fellman explains: "In the courses I teach, I have spent years trying to explore what I see Marx and Freud as having in common---the project of identifying sources of unnecessary human suffering and figuring out how to reduce it." That's a project I can live with, and I think Leo Buscaglia could have, too.

Fellman summarizes his conclusions about how to go about reducing the human suffering:

"In this book I suggest that the assumption that human life is based on conflicts of interest, wars, and the opposition of people to each other and to nature exists as a model, a framework, a paradigm that supplies meaning and orientation to the world. An alternative paradigm sees cooperation, caring, nurturing, and loving as equally viable ways of organizing relationships of humans to each other and to nature.

"This is not to pose mutuality as good and adversarialism as bad. Both must be honored as expressing real parts of the self and configured differently in different historical moments. . . ."

I like this setting out of paradigms, models that we find ourselves driven towards. Certainly we have all felt the fun of winning. And we have all felt the joy of working together to reach mutual goals, of being part of a project we could not have done alone.