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Cusp of Chaos (Second Edition)


Introduction — My Goal In This Journey Has Been to Figure Out How We Can Actually Achieve Intergroup Peace In America

We had heard that the Anglican Cathedral in Kampala was a beautiful church to see.

So we decided to see it. We had a driver for our health plan team in Uganda, and we asked him to drive us to the church on one of our first Sundays in the country.

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Chapter One

Chapter One — The Learning Process

Wales was lovely that time of the year.       

I was in Wales on a sunshine rich day in 1987 to advise a local health care authority about some ways they might improve their health care delivery. The health system that I served as President and CEO back in Minnesota at that point in time had several visible successes in both care quality and care effectiveness, and some people who advised the Welsh health care people thought they might want to hear from me both about what we had done and why we had done the things that we had done to make care better.

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Chapter Two

Chapter Two — All Saints and All Sinners — The Terrible Price of Being “Them”

One of my very early and most seminal learning moments on this journey into the impacts of instinctive behavior on us as individuals came when I was reading about a horrible war criminal from World War II who had just been arrested in a foreign land years after the war was over. 

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Chapter Three

Chapter Three — Create and Sustain InterGroup Peace with Win/Win Outcomes for All Groups in America

We have a long and sometimes troubled history of Us/Them instinct influenced inter group behavior as a country. The InterGroup books discuss that history for us in some detail. We very functionally invented the term White to be a tool that Euro Americans could use to exert group dominance over other American Groups and then we used that tool for a couple of centuries for exactly those purposes.


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Chapter Four

Chapter Four — Chaos in the World Around Us

As I began to study the ethnic and tribal conflicts that were happening in the world around us, I was increasingly horrified at the levels of evil, disgusting, and horrible guilt-free behaviors that I saw in so many places and so many settings. I was looking for evidence that our us/them instincts, our tribal instincts, and horrible guilt-free behaviors that I saw in so many places and so many settings.

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Chapter Five

Chapter Five — Separatists Were the First Intergroup Conflict Category That I Studied

As I began looking at the various kinds of intergroup conflicts that exist in various countries, the easiest category of groups in conflicted status for me to see were the groups who echoed what I had seen on that sunny day in Wales — countries where at least one subset of the national population had its own sense of group identity and its own sense of group turf and also wanted some level of group autonomy.

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Chapter Six

Chapter Six — Newly Independent Former Soviet Satellites All Triggered Damaging Intergroup Issues

The timing was actually perfect. I began my direct learning process about countries with internal intergroup conflicts at the same time that the Soviet Union was dissolving and creating almost two-dozen newly independent countries that each had their own major internal intergroup issues and challenges.

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Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven — Massive Amounts of Ethnic Turmoil Were Triggered by the End of Colonialism

It was clear when I sorted through the nearly 200 settings for current intergroup conflicts that I could see in various countries in the early 1990s that the end of colonialism had triggered a very large number of very similar and very damaging intergroup conflicts in a wide range of settings.

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Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight— Immigration Is Causing Massive Intergroup Stress Points and Instinct-Triggered Conflicts in Many Settings

People from a number of European countries have told me with real concern and deep sorrow how sad, frightened, disconcerted, upset, angry, and even depressed they are about the increasing impact of immigration on each of their countries.

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Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine — The World Is a Mess

The world today truly is a mess. Conflicts abound. People in setting after setting are doing damage to one another in a growing array of very negative and increasingly dysfunctional intergroup interactions.

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Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten — We Need to Use Our Instincts to Help Us Continuously Improve and to Help Us Solve the Very Real Problems That Our Instincts Create

As I began to look at all of the countries that I could find that were either at war with themselves or at war with other countries, it became clear to me very early in the learning, study, and discernment processes that there were very definite and very consistent patterns in the negative intergroup interactions that were happening with obvious regularity and with very predictable consistency in a very wide range of settings.

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Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven — Our Instincts Use Our Emotions and Our Cultures to Achieve Their Goals — So We Need to Use Those Same Tools to Achieve Our Goals

It was clear to me fairly early in the process of figuring out how our instincts actually influence and guide our behaviors that our instincts use both our emotions and our cultures as key and essential tools to achieve their most significant goals.

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Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve — We Need to Be Personally Accountable

Once I realized that we can’t ever get rid of our instincts, I concluded that we needed to use our intellect in accountable and strategic ways to guide our use of our instincts. After thinking about those intergroup issues for a number of years, I have come to believe that we each would be well served by deciding to have our intellect guide our lives rather than having our lives guided by our instincts or by our cultures.


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Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen — Our Negative Behavior Was Situationally Conspiratorial — but Not Based on a Conspiracy at Its Core

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss conspiracies and their role in creating the damage that has been done to people in this country relative to race, ethnicity, and gender.

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Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen — We Cannot Start with a Clean Slate — or Forgiveness

One of the more useful things that I have learned over the years in talking to many people from all groups about this entire array of intergroup issues has been that members from our various minority groups have tended to have a collective sense and belief that the White “Them” in this country is now and has been at a very direct level fully aware of the deliberate and clear levels of negative intergroup behavior that have been happening in so many places to so many people.

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Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen — Why Some Deaths Trigger Riots While Others Are Ignored

One of my most important learning processes about intergroup interactions early in my research into those topics was to figure out why some clearly intentional and obviously criminal deaths seem to have no collective impact on a community and why a number of other deaths create a level of anger and collective group outrage that sometimes ends in riots and protests of various kinds that can last for days, weeks, or even months in a given setting or community.


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Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen — What Should We Do Now?

What I have concluded after studying all of those intergroup issues for all of those years in all of those settings is that we need to build a culture of intergroup trust and intergroup support if we want to build a culture of InterGroup Peace in America.


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Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen — We Need to Build Our Future United by Our Shared Values

We need to be a people united by our shared beliefs instead of being a people divided by race, ethnicity, religion, or any of the other more primal divisions that can so easily divide and separate us if we allow those sets of divisions to define who we are and what we do.

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Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen — Now We Need to Make it Happen

What I learned on that lovely day in Wales way back in 1987 was that people tend to align in groups and then act very differently relative to other people based on the group that the other people are in. In many cases, groups of people fear, dislike, distrust, and interact in very negative ways with other groups of people.

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