Depending upon who you talk to, the social contract is either breaking down, or being renegotiated, with terms that favor the disaffected, the previously ignored and perennially held back.


Fundamental Attribution Error, correspondence bias and the attribution affect—all cornerstones of modern social psychology—describe the contemporary social contract in two basic ways:

  • External: If something goes wrong, other people are to blame and should have controlled their situations better.
  • Internal: If something goes wrong, I am not to blame because situations happen that are beyond my control all the time.

When we seek to blame others—or blame circumstances—for our misfortunes, disputes and conflicts, we shift the social contract in subtle and profound ways.And, depending upon whom you talk to, personal responsibility, or powerful institutionalized forces, are to blame.

But, when there’s no one to attribute cause and error to, and when there’s no set of circumstances that can be forgiven, how is conflict to be resolved?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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