When people encounter conflict their true nature is often the force behind their actions. Conflicts can vary from personal to group and be fairly tedious and inconsequential or they can be life threatening situations. Individuals will display different reactions to this conflict depending on their true nature. Some embrace the conflict and it enables them to show their long held values and morals whereas others are put into a position where they must avoid showing there true self in order to survive.
People reveal long held values and what really matters to them when they are under pressure. Our true motives are displayed when we encounter conflict. In the movie, paradise road Mrs Tippler has a highly negative response to conflict, she becomes critical and pessimistic. She grows increasingly spiteful and resentful, making racial tensions worse and accusing the Dutch women of being dishonest. She accuses Adrienna of endangering lives with the vocal orchestra and becomes suspicious of everyone saying “What about that Jew doctor? What about that one making goo goo eyes at that Japanese guard all the time”. Ms tippler seemed like a reasonable person at the beginning of the movie but as tension and pressure was put upon her and the group her nastier values where exposed.
Adrienne emerges as a natural leader in the prison camp. Her response to conflict is to maintain her dignity. Another character, Adrienne is placed in a compromising position when she’s asked if the orchestra will perform a Japanese folk-song for Colonel Hirota. She refuses, risking severe punishment. In a modern day example sporting great tiger woods was involved in many types of conflict with his partner at time and also with the media. His true ethics where shown as it was reveled that he had been a serial cheater and had told many lies, which inevitably was the reason for him being caught, if he had not engaged in any form of conflict though media speculation or of that with his wife who he really is would never have been exposed.
In times of conflict people may even surprise themselves, and discover new characteristics they didn’t know they had. Under pressure a person’s true character is often revealed. Some people will remain composed under pressure and remain in control of the situation while others will lose control of their emotions and the situation very quickly. Recently a soldier called Trooper Finney was awarded the George Cross for rescuing an injured colleague following during the war in Iraq. He was driving a tank when they were attacked by warplanes, his colleagues ran away to shelter but he heard his fellow soldier – the tank gunner, screaming, but he couldn’t get to him properly in the tank. Finney pulled his gunner out and gave him first aid underneath the tank- returned to the burning vehicle to radio for help and kept the other soldier alive until assistance came.
Trooper Finney was 19 and had been in the Army for less than a year. He would not have had many life threatening experiences and may not have known what he was capable of until under immense pressure in the middle of a deadly conflict. His real identity came out and his real character was revealed when he risked his life for someone else and stayed calm and cool under attack. Margaret Drummond’s character in Paradise Road was also an unlikely hero, she was humble, sweet and a Christian missionary she probably didn’t realise she could survive such a torturous ordeal as the prison camp but she finds “The will to survive is strong, stronger than anything.”
At times people need to behave in ways that are out of character in order to survive. This is not always an accurate representation of who they are. Stressed and deprived, some of the women in Paradise Road find themselves placed in a morally and politically compromised situation when confronted with the choice as to whether to remain at the Japanese ‘officers’ club’, providing sex in return for food and comfort, or to return to the camp. Inner conflict is also encountered by the women who are often pushed to breaking point by the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers, such as when they are forced to witness the injustice of Wing’s execution in silence. Normally in a situation where the women where not faced with the threat of death they might have stepped in but with conflicting interests of survival and that to help others stopped them from expressing their desired actions. In our political environment the sense of conflict can be strong, especially near election time.
Many politicians have to tow the party line and state that they are opposed to things like gay marriage or abortion, because that is what their political party policy is. They need to do this in order to survive politically in their elected positions. They often turn out not to be personally opposed to those things, but the pressure of conflicting parties vying for peoples votes forces them to act in a role which may be out of character. Kevin Rudd is now saying he is not personally against gay marriage, even though he headed a government who opposed to it. In some circumstances morals and values are compromised in order to survive in the given environment, thus their actions and perceived values may not be a true representation of who they really are.
Conflicting interests in the eyes of the individual is often the reason behind how and why they act in certain ways. In situations of conflict some welcome the situation and show their true self while others act out of fear and desperation either inadvertently revealing themselves or deliberately choosing survival over being themselves.
Courtney from Study Moose
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