Veronica Roth says that ‘if there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading’. Inasmuch as this statement speaks some truth, it implicitly criticises humanity and it doesn’t exactly conform to our reality. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are always two sides to a coin and in this life the battle between expectation and reality clashes in an ugly fashion that causes an awakening.
Conflict and its resolute brothers-in-arms namely antagonism, dispute, contest, discord, strife, struggle, combat do create stories worth reading – or telling, opening our eyes to the sad reality of our humanity. On the flip side there is love and its brothers-in-arms namely friendship, appreciation, allegiance, fidelity, zeal which also create stories worth telling – or reading and awakens us to the beautiful side of life.
In order to avoid conflict and understand the opinion of others, you need to put yourself in their shoes and reason things thoroughly to strike a balance. First and foremost, we need to know what conflict is and why it exists.
Conflict is a state of opposition between persons or ideas or interests. Our differences stir conflict. It exists because of our variance in opinions, executions, loyalties, beliefs, feelings, justice and equity. Conflict not only exists among us. It exists within us breeding self- doubt, hate, fear and indecision. Out of the miry clay of conflict come stories of victory and gloom. On this basis, I perceive Roth based her statement on the history of man’s inhumane treatment to other men.
We have heard, read and witnessed the creation of such stories through several acts such as: Slavery – even though it has been abolished, it still exists in some parts of the world. Racism – the battle against it has been well fought throughout the years and racial violence has been reduced drastically but is still an issue now. War – nations warring against other nations have done more harm than good but leaders are wiser now and would do everything to avoid going to war. Also, we now use the ideas of diplomatic resolution in our decision making. Oppression – the poor and less privileged around the world would definitely have stories of neglect to tell, including dictatorship and bad governance. Many countries around the world have fallen prey to leaders with conflict of interest and direction in terms of the ways in which the nation should move forward as a people and stand as a country. This has caused the citizenry untold hardship, not forgetting to mention the greed of our leaders which has led to widespread corruption and financial impropriety. There will be no need to elaborate on this as the stories are all over the media for all to see. On a personal level, there is jealousy, envy and pride which breeds contempt among people.
The issue brought on by conflict, shape the minds of people differently and has reflected negatively on the way we choose to relate with one another. Conflict, though inevitable, can be managed and avoided. With this premise, one would like to take note of the fact that no one really enjoys stories that conflict brings and it is because of this reason that people tend to move away from these tales that stir anger, sorrow and tears.
This leads me to reinforce my point on love being a present force in the stories that are worth telling – or reading: Love – this generates respect with which our differences are acknowledged and accepted. Patience – it allows an understanding in terms of where we are coming from and creates relatable circumstances. Togetherness and good communication – it helps us ignore issues of colour and race while breaking boundaries of language and tradition to achieve set goals. Co-operation – it allows a setting aside of our differences for our collective objective. Tolerance – behind the back of mother love, we have developed religious tolerance that used to spark tension in the past, even though we must admit it has not been totally eradicated. Inter-tribal and inter-racial marriages – this was frowned upon in the past but is now appreciated and longed for. Culture appreciation and fashion – it is no secret that fashion has crossed territorial boundaries in an acceptable manner and cultural appreciation. While in other cases, it has caused culture appropriation that has been deemed offensive to different cultures. I dare say that bi-lateral and world trade exists due to the absence of conflict which has resulted in an improved economy for the participants.
On this note, you can conclude that without conflict, there will still be stories worth telling – or reading. Conflict is not the only force to be reckoned with in terms of retelling stories of our lives and our generation.
Now to answer the question as to whether I agree with Roth’s statement, my answer is an obvious ‘no’. This is because without conflict we would have a better world and a better world is not devoid of stories, which should be passed from generation to generation. The beauty of it all is that other than stories borne out of conflict, we would have stories borne out of love and we all know that love makes the world go round. The world has become a global village due to it.
We have made and told better stories without conflict and we can be happy about them because they are worth telling – or reading.