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Cartesian Conflict Theory Part II: Mapping Individual Motions in Conflict Patterns

By Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer


Baitballs are an interesting phenomenon in the animal kingdom.  In some areas around the world,  when baitfish are distressed they form into what has become known as a “baitball”, which is a grouping of thousands of baitfish swimming in a ball to confuse predators.  For a long time, baitballs were seen as an evolutionary collaboration between fish to scare off predators and it was credited as a survival mechanism.  However, more and more they are being looked at as a community of individuals.  The concept is similar to concept of herds of animals and flocks of birds, when a stressor is introduced to the group the animals increase their chances of survival by banding together into a group.  Some argue that this is more because it increases the odds of survival (going from 1:1 ration to a 1:10 or 1:10,000) by increasing the amount of other targets for the stressor.  Thus this odd defense to stressors exists throughout the animal kingdom.


Whether you agree with the theory or not, the concept that a person surrounds themselves with allies during a conflict situation has both anecdotal and academic support throughout all of history.  When people are challenged by another person or an organization, they tend to look for support.  Now there are a plethora of ways in which a person can do this; but in this article we will look at three specific methods:


  • Relying on ones own network (Health);
  • The Enemy of My Enemy (Unhealthy);
  • The Social Network (Modern);


Each of these patterns has its own distinctive nature and can be mapped within a Cartesian methodology of conflict resolution.  Once the pattern is understood, the neutral or arbiter can then proceed in helping the parties understand their ex parte relationship with themselves, and the need for this to be accounted for in the resolution of the conflict.  Only when the external stressors (the dispute) and the internal stressors (individual network) have been dealt with can a conflict truly be resolved or managed effectively.


The healthiest flock that a person can develop is a network of their own.  The most traditional network would be the nuclear familial unit, followed by the extended familial unit, the tribal/clan unit, the community unit and so forth.  These can be traced across successful situations, and many times the fall of civilization can be tracked back to a failing in one of these units.  By no means are these the only healthy units, people can form healthy social units around faith, hobbies, work, sports, entertainment or a plethora of other nuclei.  The general requirement for these networks to be healthy is that the sense of community is around something positive: mutual protection,  enjoyment of a productive activity, learning, ect.


When a stressor is introduced into an individuals life, people who have this type of network tend to turn to their network as a means of support.  This means that the stress of the stressor is distributed among more people, similar to the danger to the flock being spread out over more birds.  To this end, the person who is the focus of the stressor can then use the resources of the network to deal with the conflict.  This can have several manifestations, but most common are the network helps the person deal with the problem, the network turns its attention to chasing off the stressor or even if the network does not chase off the stressor the size of the network may cause the stressor to re-think the situation.  Any of these can be an effective way for the individual to gain power or leverage in the conflict with the stressor.  To illustrate the network effect we look at three examples of the effect being used at the individual, local and international levels.  These examples are:


  • The cliques in high school;
  •  Book Clubs;
  • The Israeli Civil Conflict.


Each of these problems can demonstrate how individuals, or groups of individuals can use their network to extend the conflict map well beyond the initial disturbance to something much larger as a way to deal with their relation to the stressor.


High school cliques may be one of the simplest networks to see in effect.  The complexities generally associated to the high school clique phenomenon are generally generational issues, rather than true complexity.  Students associate with students that they related to, which increases their chance of social “survival” in the archaic institution of high school.  Students who associate with sports band together because the team mentality allows them to avoid  being singled out.  Academically inclined students band together so that they are not singled out or targeted.  The same can be said for drama students, emo students or any of the other groups that students place themselves into in the modern school system.  The common theme is clear, that there is safety in numbers, because even if your group does not increase your strength it can still protect you by giving you the ability to be a face in the crowd when a stressor is around.  Further, the group also allows you to deal with stressors by giving you a network to fall back on when times get tough.


Book clubs (garden clubs, jogging clubs ect) serve the same function in adult life.  The “rat race” of being an adult in the modern world creates a situation that increases stress on the individual while stigmatizing people who seek help to deal with their stress.  Many a psychiatrist has made a healthy living being rental “friend” that a person can talk to when they become stressed.  Clubs serve the same function in a more natural means.  People can reach out to their friends to discuss a problem, or even to not discuss the problem and just talk.  The club becomes a support group that simply focuses on something other than the problems of its members.  This allows people to deal with stressors in a healthy way without going through the artificial process of therapy.


Finally, we can see the phenomenon of networking at the highest level when we look at the Israel/Palestine Conflict.  Realistically, no one cares.  It is a small spec of land in the middle east that has been mined of its resources, holds little strategic value on its own and has been at war for most of human history.  However, the people there are another story.  More than two thirds of the worlds population care who controls this region because of history of the area.  I will make the statement that the reason that Israel/Palestine conflict has not been solved is because all of the negotiations have been between the wrong actors.  The Jews and the Palestinians are pawns, expendable bodies that the rest of the world can use fight a proxy war over sites dedicated to peace, all the while keeping their hands clean of the innocent blood that is shed daily.  Both the Jews and the Muslims have created networks around the globe, each vying for their version of history to be recognized.  These “baitballs” have become larger and larger until they became something more than a group of individuals, they became something with a  collective consciousness.


The truth is the Jews and the Palestinians want peace.  They are tired of their schools, hospitals and places of worship being bombed.  They are tired of the radicals on each side being the ones who are given the money.  They want their families to go to work and school with the assumption that they will come home healthy at the end of the day.  Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on the peace process in Israel; however, it has not because the Israelis and the Palestinians do not want peace, but because the networks they created do not want peace.  Billions of dollars in industry, national pride, military contracts and faith based donations go into the preservation/destruction of Israel.  Corporate and theological empires are built on the concept that Israel needs to last forever or be destroyed.  Until these networks are mapped out and their interests can be preserved in another way, there will always be a suicide bomber or a rogue solider that will stop the peace process with an atrocity.


The second type of conflict network is the “enemy of my enemy” network or EME.  An EME network is based around the idea that if someone is against someone who we are also against, then we can work together to overcome our common enemy.  If we look at any of the popular media in the last 10 years we can see this in effect: the good guys and the bad guys team up in the Fast and The Furious franchise, the plot of every marvel team movie is people who do not like each other working together, or even the comedy Tropic Thunder where four idiots overcome their dislike of each other to deal with a problem.  These films highlight the human concept that if someone is against us, that those who are against them are on the same team.  We can see the failures in these situations at the local, national and global level.


At the local level, the level where most mediators work, we can see this when local groups get together because they dislike another group.  While there are many areas where this is true, the easiest area to see this is in sports.  When your team is out of the playoffs you can either be healthy and root for another team, or you can follow the unhealthy route and root against at team you dislike.  The old adage around where I grew up is “you can not like the Steelers or not like the Browns, but everyone hates the New England Patriots.”  The concept that someone else is enriched because of someone’s failure is a cancer in a society.  Yes, you can achieve something by succeeding where another has failed, but it is the success, not the failure, which advances you.  However, we see in many areas that watching the other side fail looks easier, thus people relate teaming up to see someone fail as a success, when really it is nothing more than collaborative group failure.


One area where it is quite easy to see the EME network is in America’s current political system.  For a case and point I will look to a friend of mine who was the leader of a state party caucus.  She took over control of the county party two years ago in a contested election.  The person whom she beat was not a bad person, he was just a member of the old guard and not keeping up with the changing times.  The party saw monumental progress under her leadership, but some were still incensed by her winning the party chair.  Rather than challenge her in an election for the chair, her opponents teamed up with others to have her committeeperson seat taken away from her in a low turnout off cycle election.  The lack of a committeeperson seat prohibited her from running for chair again, thus she was removed from office.  While her detractors may have had a “win”, what they really ended up with was one of the most vibrant local leaders in the community being removed from office.  Truly, the only winners in this situation were the leaders of the other political party.


At an international level, we can see the effect of EME in the relationship between the United States and the USSR.  During World War II, Adolph Hitler had an agreement with Stalin that he would not invade Russia.  There was also a tacit agreement that he would leave American Ships alone.  When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on the United States to go to the aid of his overly ambitious allies.  This created an enmity between the United States and the German Reich.  Hitler also broke his agreement with Russia, which resulted in the USSR having animosity against Hitler.  The EME relationship between the USA and the USSR was born out of mutual hatred for Hitler.  This is perhaps one of the best examples of networks where both sides hate each other, they just hate someone else a little more.  This EME relationship ended up leading to 40 years of war (cold and proxy) between the United States and the USSR, along with national debts which exceed the amount of money that currently exists in the world.  It was a necessary collaboration, but an unhealthy relationship.


The final type of relationship that we are going to discuss herein is the social media network.  This is a new type of network (less than 100 years old) that is having major effects on the world stage, specifically elections.  While it is too early to determine whether it is healthy or unhealthy, we can see elements of both in its nature.  On the side of it being healthy, it allows people to connect with their family and friends at an unprecedented level and also allows people to link up with different groups to which they are affiliated.  While this can be effective as a way of networking, the algorithms used by social media sites to “suggest” people for you to connect with can create an echo chamber of viewpoints.  This can reinforce information, whether it be true or false.  In the era of “Fake News” (sites like and the echoing of dubious stories can be damaging.  Time will tell if the networking overcomes the problems of the echo-chamber, but this type of relationship is rising to a level of popularity it took the other relationships thousands of years to reach.


Knowing some of the basic types of relationships, we can now see how the bait ball analogy can be relevant in conflict resolution.  Regardless of the type of relationship that a person is in, their relationships create a conflict support network around them.  Much like the fish in the baitball, individuals embroiled in the conflict have a position in the conflict relative to the stressor.  The relationship defines where the person is on the conflict map, whether their network protects them (like the fish in the middle of the ball) or if it uses them to advance its own interest (using the conflicted person as a shield, like a fish on the outside of the ball) or even if the nature of the network is constantly undulating through social media, the relationships can define the conflict map which the mediator must navigate.


These relationships challenge the outdated first wave theories that the conflict is between the two parties and only the two parties.  The dynamic nature of conflict is highly vested in the nature of the human animal.  Whether a conflict be between companies, people or even internal, understanding the conflict dynamics, and by association the conflict map, allows the neutral to be more effective in dealing with the problem.  Only when we understand this can we break away from the dyadic concepts promoted in the litigation system we still use as a primary system and the AI conflict systems some companies are passing off as conflict management technologies.  Unless the conflict is holistically approached, we are but as children solving disputes by throwing rocks.

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Mental Health Of A Child- Understanding What Is Childhood Trauma? Causes, Types, Effects, PTSD. Questions and How can Brāv be useful to your kid?

What is childhood trauma?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, childhood trauma is defined as: “The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.”

Bad things happen in life as children grow up. Some are obvious, like a natural disaster that destroys a home, physical abuse or death of a parent. Others can also rock a child’s sense of safety and well-being, like community violence or substance abuse in a parent. Something as simple as being in a car accident or a child overhearing frequent, intense arguments between his or her parents can be traumatic for some children.
Learning how to understand, process and cope with difficulties – even tragedies – is a natural part of a child’s development process. But sometimes children get stuck. An experience, or repeated experiences, may leave a child with an overwhelming sense of fear and loss, making them feel that they have no safety or control over their lives. For some children, these feelings become so intense that they get in the way of their continued physical, emotional, social or intellectual development. This is childhood trauma.

Unaddressed, trauma can have long term effects on the quality and length of a person’s life. But the good news is that there are things you can do make your child less susceptible to trauma, identify trauma reactions and get the support you need to help your child recover.
Some Leading Causes


The most common causes of childhood trauma include:
Chaos or dysfunction in the house (such as domestic violence, parent with a mental illness, substance abuse or incarcerated)
Death of a loved one
Emotional abuse or neglect
Physical abuse or neglect
Separation from a parent or caregiver
Sexual abuse
Stress caused by poverty
Sudden and/or serious medical condition
Violence (at home, at school, or in the surrounding community)

How does trauma affect a child?

Traumatic events can affect children’s moods and their ability to regulate their emotions. … They may have developed coping skills to help them survive the repeated trauma that cause them to appear numb to emotions. Physical Development. Physical development may be affected by certain kinds of trauma.

Types of Trauma and Violence

Learn about the different kinds of traumatic events that can impact the behavioral health of individuals, families, and communities.

Traumatic events can include physical and sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, community-based violence, disaster, terrorism, and war.

SAMHSA’s TIP 57: Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services – 2014 and SAMHSA’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Types of Traumatic Stress (link is external) webpage provide in-depth information about the many different kinds of trauma and violence.

Sexual Abuse or Assault:

Sexual abuse or assault includes unwanted or coercive sexual contact, exposure to age-inappropriate sexual material or environments, and sexual exploitation. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”

Physical Abuse or Assault:

Physical abuse or assault is defined as the actual or attempted infliction of physical pain (with or without the use of an object or weapon), including the use of severe corporeal punishment. Federal law defines child abuse as any act, or failure to act, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child.

Emotional Abuse or Psychological Maltreatment:

Emotional abuse and psychological maltreatment are considered acts of commission (other than physical or sexual abuse) against an individual. These kinds of acts, which include verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and excessive demands or expectations, may cause an individual to experience conduct, cognitive, affective, or other mental disturbances. These acts also include acts of omission against a minor such as emotional neglect or intentional social deprivation, which cause, or could cause, a child to experience conduct, cognitive, affective, or other mental disturbances.


Neglect is the most common form of abuse reported to child welfare authorities. However, it does not occur only with children. It can also happen when a primary caregiver fails to give an adult the care they need, even though the caregiver can afford to, or has the help to do so. Neglect also includes the failure to provide an individual with basic needs such as food, clothing, or shelter. It can also mean not providing medical or mental health treatment or prescribed medicines. Neglect also includes exposing someone to dangerous environments, abandoning a person, or expelling them from home.

Serious Accident, Illness, or Medical Procedure
Trauma can occur when a person experiences an unintentional injury or accident, a physical illness, or medical procedures that are extremely painful and/or life threatening.

Victim or Witness to Domestic Violence
According to DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women, domestic violence is defined as: “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.” Domestic violence includes violence and abuse by current or former intimate partners, parents, children, siblings, and other relatives.

For information on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) work with domestic violence, visit the Administration for Children and Families’ Family and Youth Services Bureau.

Victim or Witness to Community Violence:

Extreme violence in the community, including exposure to gang-related violence, interracial violence, police and citizen altercations, and other forms of destructive individual and group violence is a recognized form of trauma.

Historical Trauma:

Historical trauma is a form of trauma that impacts entire communities. It refers to the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, as a result of group traumatic experiences, that is transmitted across generations within a community. Unresolved grief and anger often accompany this trauma and contribute to physical and behavioral health disorders. This type of trauma is often associated with racial and ethnic population groups in the United States who have suffered major intergenerational losses and assaults on their culture and well-being.

School Violence:

School violence is described as violence that occurs in a school setting and includes, but is not limited to, school shootings, bullying, interpersonal violence among classmates, and student suicide. Youth violence is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on victims and their families, friends, and communities


Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may experience serious, lasting problems. Trauma can be a consequence of bullying, which can lead to mental health issues, substance use, and suicide, particularly if there is a prior history of depression or delinquency.

Natural or Manmade Disasters:
Trauma can result from a major accident or disaster that is an unintentional result of a manmade or natural event. Disasters can occur naturally (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, mudslides, or drought) or be human-caused (such as mass shootings, chemical spills, or terrorist attacks).

Forced Displacement:

Forced displacement is a traumatic event that occurs when people face political persecution and are forced to relocate to a new home (as an immigrant or through political asylum) or become a refugee.

War, Terrorism, or Political Violence
Exposure to acts of war-, terrorism-, or political-related violence such as bombing, shooting, and looting can cause trauma in an individual.

Military Trauma:

Military trauma refers to both the impact of deployment and trauma-related stress on people who are deployed and their families. Significant numbers of returning service men and women experience mental and/or substance use disorders associated with military trauma and/or military sexual trauma.

Victim or Witness to Extreme Personal or Interpersonal Violence:

This type of trauma includes extreme violence by or between individuals including exposure to homicide, suicide, and other extreme events.

Traumatic Grief or Separation:

Traumatic grief and/or separation may include the death of a parent, primary caretaker, or sibling; abrupt and/or unexpected, accidental, or premature death or homicide of a close friend, family member, or other close relative; abrupt, unexplained and/or indefinite separation from a parent, primary caretaker, or sibling due to uncontrollable circumstances.

System-Induced Trauma and Retraumatization:

Many systems that are designed to help individuals and families can actually cause trauma. For example, in child welfare systems, abrupt removal from the home, foster placement, sibling separation, or multiple placements in a short amount of time can retraumatize children. In mental health systems, the use of seclusion and restraint on previously traumatized individuals can revive memories of trauma. Further, invasive medical procedures on a trauma victim can re-induce traumatic reactions.

What are the symptoms of trauma?
Emotional & psychological symptoms:

Shock, denial, or disbelief.
Confusion, difficulty concentrating.
Anger, irritability, mood swings.
Anxiety and fear.
Guilt, shame, self-blame.
Withdrawing from others.
Feeling sad or hopeless.
Feeling disconnected or numb.

What is PTSD in a child?

Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event.

The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms: Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.

How Can Brãv Help Your Kid?

As for the information about Children’s Health Care City Center on the Huffington post,in the light out the Article we would like to extend our hand of support to your kid.

Brāv is an early-stage company focused on developing products that will curb destructive conflict.
We employ a human-centered design process to understand our users and build tools that are much needed.

Brāv trains anyone in conflict management who in turn manage the conflicts of others directly on our site

Brāv can provide the online counseling and fire sides as well.

Can you cure trauma?

As with most mental illnesses, no cure exists for PTSD, but the symptoms can be effectively managed to restore the affected individual to normal functioning. The best hope for treating PTSD is a combination of medication and therapy. So, Brāv can be used as a useful therapatic session for your child.

How does post traumatic stress disorder affect everyday life?
PTSD can be a debilitating disorder and its symptoms can have a negative impact on a number of different areas in a person’s life. In particular, the disorder can negatively affect an individual’s mental health, physical health, work, and relationships. So, we here try to make a positive impact in one’s mind by ensuring the support one gets from us to overcome the negatives.

If you decide to talk about depression with your child, you may be concerned about saying the “right” thing. However, just having an open and honest discussion with your child can provide her with much-needed support.

As far as the “saying the right thing” goes, we’re here to help you.

You want to make sure that your child understands what you are saying and is not confused or bored by the discussion.
Make sure that you are using words that your child can understand.

We Understand and take the following steps to make sure that they feel “Understood”.

Being Compassionate.


Good listeners.


Your child needs to know that you recognize and respect his feelings. Even if you do not quite understand his thoughts, avoid quipping, “What do you have to be depressed about?” or “Don’t be ridiculous.” Comments like these just cause a child to keep his feelings to himself or become defensive. We understand that.

We allow your child to talk openly and express his opinions and thoughts. Avoiding to interrupt or judge him. Knowing that he has someone he can confide in help to sort out his feelings.
Talking to your child about his depression can be a very important part of his recovery.


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*Exclusive Interview with Marshal Webb, E.J. Hilbert and Eric Taylor of PATH Network

The ICO world is full of legal ambiguity and many are working hard to game the system, just hoping not to get caught. The team behind PATH Network is different as they are striving to be as compliant as possible. The team is led by an ex-FBI agent who has served as a cybersecurity and governance consultant to numerous firms during his role with Kroll and PWC.  PATH Network will be adding DDOS notification and protection to all clients. 

Learn about Path’s connection to conflict management through their journey:

How did you choose your team?

A: On 0-day, or the very 1st day of work at Path, founding members made it clear that Path wouldn’t be just any team. It would be a dream team! That is exactly what Path is now, 6 months after its January 2018 launch, we have brought on a diverse line up of some very talented individuals, including former hackers now turned cybersecurity professionals,  & an ex-FBI agent who used to chase hackers as our CEO, amongst many others.


Why hasn’t somebody come up with this before? Tell the real story, being an insider.

PATH: This project is sophisticated on many levels. Path Network redefines internet intelligence with unparalleled visibility into connectivity by applying blockchain technology to immediately serve a core business need of mid-market internet service providers (ISPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs) as well as internet-powered companies. Path Network’s decentralized approach offers better network insights at a lower cost. This unique paradigm gives Path Network a competitive edge previously unseen in this space, raising quality while reducing overhead.


Q  How can PATH get people to volunteer to become node; why will people sign up to do this?

PATH:  The premise of Path Network is simple: use commodity electronics already located around the world to monitor the health of the internet. This is incentivized through the reward of “PATH” tokens to miners that choose to participate by running our software on their devices at home. In return, our customers have their own networks and online services monitored by this array of devices.


Q Q: How did you decide what technology to use to build this platform…tell the bigger story of how you came to be

PATH: As our motto goes, we plan to redefine internet visibility through blockchain. Path aims to be the world’s first truly decentralized data monitoring network, and will have a first mover and network effect advantage over future companies whom will inevitably see the benefits to blockchain protocol in the network monitoring space. Q: How receptive will the users be to this new approach?  

PATH: We have already received a massive amount of complimentary reviews on the project.

The Path team has developed a number of clients to ensure that the Path Network mining application can operate on a multitude of platforms. At the heart of the Path Network agent is a simple core, extended to perform network-related tasks associated with monitoring jobs issued by our customers.  In return, they receive PATH tokens by using our mining application on any given device. Q: What is your philosophy on inspiring performance among your team?


PATH: Innovation. We will always strive to provide top-grade technology and service to our customers. Q: Building all this technology can be intense in the trenches, how do you handle conflict resolution within your development team?

PATH:  We resolve conflict within our development team with ease, thanks to our incredible team chemistry, we simply weigh out  the pros and cons of any given “conflicted situation”, and take time to reflect, then as a team we always find a solution. Q: His team is in Australia, China and the US. How do you manage your teams in such a fast paced environment?

PATH: Communication is key at Path, with employees from all around the globe, our time is always managed  in a synchronous matter.

Q Q: What kind of impact do you think your product will have on the debate on net neutrality?  

PATH:  As traditional network monitoring remains an industry ripe for disruption, the core of Path Network’s functionality lies in our ability to incorporate the strengths of a centralized platform backed by a decentralized and globally distributed network of monitoring agents.

Q Q: In your early days, did you ever pretend that conflict didn’t exist rather than attempt to address the underlying issues?

PATH: In my early days, if there was a conflict, my team and I would always address it, with full transparency until a solution was made. Each lesson learned came with a blessing, as our foundation strengthened, throughout all the hardships and issues we have faced since the very beginning. The firm discipline and team chemistry demonstrated by Path played a significant role in the uprising of Path Network.


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Cartesian Conflict Theory

Cartesian Conflict Theory


By Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer


In the study of conflict management, the process itself complicates the ways in which we deal with conflict.  Human beings are wired with an instinct for self-preservation and if that is absent then there is a mental problem there.  Now this instinct for self-preservation varies from person to person, in fact there is quite a spectrum.  On one end of the spectrum, we have the xenophobe who is agoraphobic- this person stays in an area that they can control and only associates with people whom they are comfortable with, reducing risk greatly; on the other end of the spectrum we have the adrenaline junkie with the devil-may-care attitude who takes measured risks for the thrill of it.  Both action sets are managed by the same concept.  The person from the first example creates a feeling of safety because they cater to their risk management, the person from the second example gets the thrill by challenging their risk management.  However in both cases there is a common thread, that the self is central to their story line.  The agoraphobic stays safe because they are protecting the key factor in their story and the adrenaline junkie gets their thrill by putting the key factor in their story at risk.


Cartesian Conflict Theory posits that each person is central to their own story and that once you realize this you are more able to “map out” the conflict so that it can be effectively managed.  All too often, conflict management professionals maintain the illusion that they are the core feature in each story they interact with, that because they are the mediator they have a key role in the conflict management process.  Ideally, the conflict management professional has as little a footprint in a persons story as possible.  This means that as conflict management professionals we succeed the most when no one remembers us in their stories.  When we realize this, we become much more effective as we become, quite simply, part of the process.


To accept Cartesian Conflict Theory, there are a few truisms that someone must accept.  First, a person’s life is made up of stories and processes.  Many people from the conflict management field will be able to accept that stories make up a major part of people’s lives because it is the core concept of narrative mediation; however, the idea that processes are parts of our lives is something that many people reject.  We reject this concept because we are trained to think we are not predictable, when in most cases we are.  This rejection is a Western concept, the Eastern concept of continuous improvement embraces the constant improving of processes in your life.  Individually speaking, think of your day.  What do you do each day, every day?  Do you take time to improve your process, to make it more efficient or have you found a level that you are comfortable with?  Each of us have our own process.  And when we combine this with our stories we have our life.


The relationship between stories and life, however, is at the core of Cartesian Conflict Theory.  Stories are, for the most part, the deviations from our normal pattern.  Most of us go through life doing the same things over and over, improving them when we can, to get through the day.  I would be willing to bet that I can name the pattern for 90% of people reading this of wake up, go to work, come home, relax go to sleep with only minor deviations each day.  One person may read a book to relax, another may watch TV, a third may go to a bar but the same basic concept is there; we do the same basic pattern each day.  For those of you that say “I have bowling league” or “I have book club”, this just shows your extended pattern, your bowling league meets each week or your book club meets each month.  The stories of our lives arise when we do something different and step outside of the pattern.


The question now arises as to how this relates to conflict management.  In our stories we are the main actors (parents may share the “main” concept with their children).  As conflict management professionals, we need to understand that this not only applies to us but also to the people we work for.  Our natural instinct is that we should cater to the “I” in a conflict because “we” are resolving the conflict.  The parties resolve the conflict, whether you are a judge or a mediator your guidance just helps them along.  If the parties refuse to resolve, the conflict is still there festering under an artificial “resolution” just festering and waiting to explode.  However, if we take a procedural role- a role beyond the self, then we have the ability to help others help themselves and actually manage their conflict.  This is the core concept of Cartesian Conflict Theory, that the conflict management professional makes their footprint on the map as small as possible.


Now I assume many of you are already thinking “I already do this in my practice, I make a point to be confidential, impartial and neutral.”  Good for you.  There is no claim that this is a new process, in fact there are very few processes in the world that have not been tried before.  Cartesian Conflict Theory is designed to help you embrace your role as a conflict resolution professional.  In being a smaller part in other people’s stories, we have the ability to increase the efficacy of our process and thus make conflict management part of our process.  We become beacons of peace in the world.


If we look back through history, we can see beacons of peace and conflict throughout time.  Christ, Buddha, Confucius and other leaders have proposed ways to make the world a much better place, and if we look we see that they empty themselves of forcing themselves on other peoples lives.  More accurately they all become light in the lives of others, something that is ethereal and indistinguishable but is still there to help.  Conversely, we have beacons of conflict throughout history such as Hitler, Bin Laden and Pol Pot.  These are people who interjected themselves into the lives of others in such an epic way that they destroyed lives, ended stories and forced their procedures on the lives of others.  They were far from ethereal and devastated people far and wide.  The majority of humanity falls somewhere in-between, and this is where we operate as conflict management professionals.


Overall, Cartesian Conflict Theory builds conflict maps of individual conflicts which we are helping to manage.  When we start with the parties, then expand the map to aggravating and mitigating factors, we can start to see how the conflict arose.  In knowing the genesis of a conflict, we are better able to  manage the conflict.  It is akin to knowing where an infection entered a system or where a pollutant entered a stream.  Once we know the cause, we can often offer a solution.  Conflict mapping is an internal process, but it is also an important process that, with the advent of more advanced computer software, we now have the ability to do in real-time while we are managing conflicts.  This process can make us more effective and help us deal with the problems that plague the world today.


June 2018.

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Faustian Bargains in the Business World: How the cooling of US/Russia Relations has led to a new era of Cloak and Dagger, Bad Deals and Companies Playing Both Sides

Faustian Bargains in the Business World: How the cooling of US/Russia Relations has led to a new era of Cloak and Dagger, Bad Deals and Companies Playing Both SidesBy Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer 


In business, we find that the devil really is in the details.  No where is this more true than in the field of international government contracting.  The old tale of Faust demonstrates how little it actually costs to get something of value to a person if you have something that has currently cost their fancy.  The “deal with the devil” storyline has been played out in countless movies and television shows since the advent of the moving picture.  As the devil fiddles there is now a change to his tune, Russia has begun buying the souls of companies by way of getting them to contract for civilian matters than pressuring them to release data to Moscow.  In the era of the New Cold War, the United State and other allied counties must take steps to control how government contractors with access to privileged information deal with not so friendly second-world countries.


If you are a business owner, then you know that government contracts are some of the most lucrative contracts that you can ever pick up.  You get paid well, your employees get paid a prevailing wage and the projects can keep your company secure for years.  For most small business owners (companies with less than 500 employees) this is the ticket to the big time and something that should be cherished.  The reason that people are paid so well for government contracts are because there are strings attached to every check that comes from a national treasury.  How jobs are done, who you can work with and what work you can do outside of the contract are tightly controlled in most cases.  The biggest strings, however, come when you are given a contract that gives you access to privileged or classified data; at this point you become a target of hostile and semi-hostile governments because they want the information that you have.


As US/Russia relations cool, the cloak and dagger tactics of the 1950’s-1980’s are seeing a resurgence.  During the golden age of spy-craft, countries attempted to convert government and military officials into “double-agents” for the purpose of spying on their rivals.  In the modern era, we have created a system of laws that prevent this as much as possible by making it difficult for someone in the public spotlight to have any extra-curricular contact with hostile or semi-hostile governments outside of official channels.  As with all things, the industry evolved.  Western free market economies have different definitions of government than the former communist bloc oligarchies.  This means when Intrpolitex states it is “organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Federal Security Service, Federal Service for the Forces of the National Guard of the Russian Federation–Russia’s security services that a western democracy sees this as an expo for police equipment, when in all reality the police and the military are highly intertwined in Russia.  This makes it a dangerous platform for companies from allied (NATO) countries to ply their wares.

According to the Interpolitex website, 470 vendors from all around the world are showing off their wares.  Interpolitexstates that there are vendors from ““Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, China, Latvia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Korea, France, Czech Republic, USA, South Africa, Japan” which are exhibiting 1500 technologies ranging from civilian to military.  With the media treatment that has been given to Paul Manafort and Hillary Clinton in relation to the dealings in Russia and the Uranium One deal, one can see how companies like Redat, subsidiary of the Czech Company Retia owned by Michal Strnad, who also is a Czech vendor participating at the expo can be seen as a problem.  Companies are lured in by Russia’s claim that the expo is mainly civilian, but as reports “The Exhibition is organized by the Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russian Federal Security Service, Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation and in the capacity of the exhibition operator is Exhibition Companies Group «BIZON».”  Further, they note that Interpolitex is “The Largest in Russian Homeland Security…


The way to deal with this problem is simple, yet unpopular- we need to have restrictions on companies to report the same way that the military or government officials on interactions with hostile or semi-hostile governments.  This creates the opportunity for the government to know what nations a company is dealing with, thus know what information that can be shared with them.  Please note, this is only for companies that have privileged or classified information, not your every day import export company or tourism business.  Nations such as the United States, the Czech Republic and others on the above mentioned list need to ensure that access to critical information is protected.


If you are a business owner in the modern world, be careful when something looks too good to be true, it generally is.  Just because a nation like Russia is interested in your civilian technologies, that does not mean that they are not bringing you into the deal to acquire information on your military contracts.  Once a nation has access to your computer system, the dividing firewalls within your company tend to crumble quickly to experienced weaponized hackers.  If the soul of your business is that lucrative government contract that you just picked up in an allied country, do not be surprised if Russia comes a calling, playing a beautiful tune of how they are interested in your civilian technologies.  You may just wake up and realize that you sold your soul away.

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The First Step Act: What is FSA? Titles divided, Opinion, Suggestions, Helpful Participation Of Brāv

What Is The First Step Act?

The latest such effort to come to our attention is the ”FIRST STEP Act”, introduced by Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) in the House, with a companion measure introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in the Senate.

The First Step Act is not a magical elixir. It won’t solve every problem facing our criminal justice system. But it will immediately make a difference in the lives of as many as 4,000 inmates the day after it is signed into law.

We are a better America when we embrace our empathetic tendencies.
We are a better America when we see prison sentences as a last resort, to be used only when we know for a fact it is the best way to generate safe outcomes.

Some people have argued that one of the elements of the bill, the rule that moves people closer to home, can threaten public safety. But copious evidence proves that being incarcerated or housed closer to home results in safer outcomes.

Some also worry that the Act will further reinforce Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ harsh approach to crime and punishment. But it’s unclear how legislation that uses unconditional language about mandated reform somehow would make the lives of prisoners worse or his power greater.
Sessions will not remain Attorney General forever, and with criminal justice reform gathering supporters on both sides of the aisle, the likelihood can only grow that in the future we will have a true reformer in the position.
I suspect the real fear is that Jeff Sessions will use some of the provisions of the Act in ways that are racially disparate, while at the same time sentencing continues to over-punish people of color. This is a weighty concern, and we should fight every day to address racial disparities in sentencing and remain incredibly vigilant.

But this is not a new concern, nor is it something the First Step can make worse.

Some also object to the use of risk assessment tools to inform sentencing decisions, arguing they can be used in a biased way.


To understand better, here are the four separate titles:

Title I — Recidivism Reduction
Title II — Bureau of Prisons Secure Firearms Storage
Title III — Restraints on Pregnant Prisoners Prohibited
Title IV — Miscellaneous Criminal Justice
Titles II and III are of little moment to this examination. Titles I and IV, however, are.
Title I. Takes on various aspects of existing federal incarceration practices and policies with the idea of substantially altering them. For instance, the bill would provide significant benefits to federal prisoners who participate in various “evidence-based recidivism reduction programs” that are intended to minimize the risk that prisoners will reoffend upon release. It does so by requiring that such programs be examined and further defined by the attorney general, in consultation with the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the director of the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, and the directors of the National Institutes of Justice and Corrections.
Chief among the benefits that accrue from participation in the resulting programs is that prisoners would earn “good time” toward sentence reductions — 10 days for every 30 days of sentence, and an additional five days for every 30 if they are assessed twice in a row as “not having increased” their recidivism risk. In other words, prisoners could potentially cut their sentencing time in half through these programs. Many observers might see it as a low bar to cut sentences in half simply because prisoners don’t become more incentivized to reoffend, but that is a general statement not applicable to removable aliens, as explained below.
Prisoners would also earn free telephone and videoconferencing privileges (30 minutes per day; 510 minutes per month) via participation in the recidivism reduction programs.
The kinds of programs envisioned under recidivism reduction, include in part the following:
Social learning and communication, interpersonal, anti-bullying, rejection response, and other life skills;
Family relationship building;
Structured parent-child interaction and parenting skills;
Classes on morals or ethics;
Academic classes;
Cognitive behavioral treatment;
Vocational training;
Faith-based classes or services;
Civic engagement and reintegrative community services; and
Prison jobs.
Title IV. Under the catch-all “Miscellaneous” provisions, establishes two new mandates.
First, there is a presumptive standard (subject to certain caveats such as prisoner classification and facility availability) that federal prisoners should be incarcerated at penal facilities no farther than 500 miles from their “primary residence”.
Second, Title IV also provides that ”The Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, place prisoners with lower risk levels and lower needs on home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted.” (Emphasis added.)
Immigration Enforcement Concerns Raised by the Bill.


When it comes to prison reform, a little something is better than a lot of nothing.
That is why the bipartisan First Step Act, passed recently by the House, deserves to be approved by the Senate and signed into law.
Progressives are sharply divided on the measure, mostly because of what it doesn’t do. The bill — sponsored by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Doug Collins, R-Ga., and strongly pushed by President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner — does nothing to address the main problem, which is that this nation sends far too many people to prison and keeps them locked up far too long.
Truly meaningful change would involve sentencing reform, for which there is some bipartisan support in Congress but not enough to get such legislation through both chambers. It is hard to imagine that Trump, who tries so hard to project a tougher-than-thou image, would sign a bill significantly reducing sentences. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who believes in throwing away the key, would have a conniption fit.
The First Step Act ignores the “front end” of the problem — sentencing — and focuses exclusively on the “back end.” It would provide $50 million a year for five years in new funding for education and rehabilitation programs in federal prisons, encourage inmates to participate in those programs by giving them credits for early release, and allow some prisoners to serve the balance of their sentences in halfway houses or home confinement.
Proponents estimate the bill would allow up to 4,000 inmates to be released from prison immediately. This is a small fraction of the total federal prison population of nearly 184,000. But try to explain that disparity to those 4,000 men and women and their families.
The bill also requires that inmates be housed at prisons within 500 miles of their homes, that inmates not be shackled during childbirth and recovery and that sanitary products be provided to female prisoners.
The House vote on the First Step Act was 360-59, with Democrats sharply divided. Some of the most progressive members of the Democratic caucus supported the bill and some voted against it. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund lobbied against the bill; the National Urban League urged approval.
There is reason to question whether the bill’s benefits will be as great as supporters claim, and of course there is reason to prefer more comprehensive legislation that also deals with sentencing. But I see no justification, in this case, for opposing incremental progress — especially since real progress is nowhere in sight.
It is true that we will never begin to reform our shameful system of mass incarceration and warehousing until we address sentences. We send to prison far too many men and women whose nonviolent or minor crimes should be handled without incarceration. African-American and Hispanic men are unfairly targeted by sentencing rules and biased police practices. While in prison, inmates get essentially no preparation for rebuilding their lives upon release. Far too often, they revert to crime and wind up back in prison.
Opponents of the First Step Act argue that passing this limited measure would relieve pressure on Congress and the administration to address the issues at the heart of the prison problem.
My question is: What pressure?
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to push sentencing reform legislation through the Senate, and I hope he succeeds. But how is anyone going to get such a bill through the House, with its much more conservative GOP majority? How is anyone going to get Sessions on board? Or convince Trump to sign it?
If Democrats take control of the House in November, they will be able to revisit the issue anytime they want , but they will have real clout to go along with their passion.

Nothing in the current bill precludes bolder, more comprehensive action when the votes, and the president’s pen, are lined up and ready..

Suggestions For Reforms:

The ultimate prison reform is to keep people out of prison in the first place. This is where state-level reforms can make a difference.

If there is to be any meaningful change in prison populations nationally, the states must step up.

Here are 3 effective reforms they should consider.

First, make it easier for people to get a job. Criminology is imprecise, but research and anecdotal evidence suggest a great way to keep people out of the criminal justice system is to let them work. The stabilizing influence of a job and a steady income cannot be overstated, so removing needless barriers to employment such as occupational licensing requirements should be a priority for states. At a minimum, they should make sure that licensing laws don’t contain “good moral character clauses,” which can automatically disqualify anyone with any type of criminal record from ever getting licensed.

Second, states should focus on enforcement. Even when most adults have a job, crime will occur, and that’s where good policing policy comes in. Michigan, with its dubious distinction of being home to some of the most dangerous cities in America, had remarkable success in reducing violent and property crime in these places through the Secure Cities Partnership, which brought together state and local law enforcement. An effective combination of hot spot patrolling (focusing policing resources on high-crime areas) and community policing (building police-community ties) saw crime rates dip as much as 40 percent in some areas. And fewer crimes translate to fewer prisoners.

Third, use problem-solving courts more frequently. These legal innovations afford judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and offenders the flexibility to address factors in a person’s life that may be contributing to criminal behavior. Drug courts, sobriety courts, mental health courts, veterans’ courts and other specialty dockets connect offenders to treatment, counseling and other services, and enforce accountability through the use of short, frequent jail sentences.

These courts also are important for prosecutors, who traditionally have been equipped with only the hammer of formal prosecution and may feel pressure to rack up convictions to help secure reelection. Problem-solving courts give them another tool, helping them bolster public safety sustainably by addressing underlying issues unique to their communities — something that may become increasingly important as the opioid crisis develops.

From a policy perspective, the FIRST STEP Act would be just that: a good first step.

Helpful Participation Of Brav:

Brāv is an early-stage company focused on developing products that will curb destructive conflict.
We employ a human-centered design process to understand our users and build tools that are much needed.

Brāv trains anyone in conflict management who in turn manage the conflicts of others directly on our site

Brāv can help with their conflicts even taking place within family.

Brāv can provide the online counseling and fire sides as well, discussion group once they are released.

Participating in discussion threads would help them with coping and job skills, which in turn will help them reenter society as citizens more capable of productive reentry.

Helping the ones bullied-

New inmates violently extorted, assaulted, and “recruited” (the kindest way to put it) into gangs. Weak punished and strength defined solely by the willingness to engage in brutality.
Being in prison is a process of constantly having to watch your back (and your front). When trouble comes, it comes quickly and seems to inevitably sweep bystanders into the vortex.
Prisoners of the Federal Bureau of Prisons are judged entirely on records made up only by correctional officers and unit counselors which are inherently more subjective, less testable over time, and based on less outcomes-based data, than risk-assessment too. This gets them to be more depressed.

So, in addition to allowing inmates to more quickly reconnect with children and family members, Brāv can actually help them to build a productive life.

There’s always a way to redeem.
You need the right support and motivation to be on the track.

Continue reading The First Step Act: What is FSA? Titles divided, Opinion, Suggestions, Helpful Participation Of Brāv

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True Equality


“I am superior to you”, “No, I am”.

This is our everyday life story now. Feminism was such a great concept. Yes, I would use ‘was‘ because nowadays people are using it in a hate speech. Few women are using it to show how superior they are,how they don’t need a man in their lives. When It’s not about needing a man in your life,it’s about empowering yourself.

We don’t have to go shoulder to shoulder with each other and compete in everything.
Being extremists is not a good solution, no good can come out of it.

True equality is when you could do the things you want to,without any hindrance of the other respective gender. Where you support and respect each other,(where you pay equally for the bill share). Equality is not about competing or blaming the other gender, accusing them of things or using it hate speeches.

You might be wondering Who am I? ,
Am I the right person and can I decipher?
Why did it struck a cord with me?

So, we’ve been listening to some things every now and then,
” Women are best suited for the household chores,they belong there right in the kitchen”.

Other things such as,
“You are a woman,you should how know to cook”.
“You are a woman,you must be getting married soon and in that case why do you want to study or work so hard?

I’m 19,but that doesn’t mean that I’m not the right person to understand.
Ever since childhood from the age of 5, I’ve been listening to such things through TV commercials,serials,witnessing someone not being able to pursue their dreams every other day because of the limitations set.

Just a week ago, a boy in my class made this statement for me:
” You will graduate with a law degree in hand,but you’ll get married as soon as you step out of this college. So, you better start learning to cook to be a good wife or bahu.”
It hit me hard.

Okay people!
Let’s just get some perspective here,
Being an independent person doesn’t mean that you cannot cook and being a woman doesn’t mean that you should know how to cook.
It is an individual’s choice.

We too have dreams and goals,
there are women out there who’s aim is not to get married ,
their focus is on their career and that they want to achieve something and acquire a good position in life.

Is there someone who can answer me?

When will the time arrive, that being a girl means there will be a savings account but not devoted solely for marriage purposes?
When will there be no FIRST WOMEN TO DO SOMETHING headline,that it’s just another woman to achieve it?
When will there be a equal pay to both the genders for doing the same thing with equal calibre?
When will women start supporting each others for once,which is also the form of true empowerment?
When will the time arrive that we no longer have to talk about being at par?
When will both the genders accept each other unabashedly?

When will this change?

Emma Watson in her UN speech (launching #heforshe project) has been quoted saying-

Feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

We should all ask this to ourselves, a deep provoking thought left to us by Emma Watson in her speech.


  1. If not ME, then WHO?
  2. If not NOW, then WHEN?

#trueequality for this century.

Thank You

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Brāv & MEND!

Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good





#MendAtPunto #PuntoArts #PuntoSpace #Women #Theater #NYC #MothersDay


Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good is a one-time theater event taking place in celebration on Mother’s Day and artist autonomy on May 13, 5-7pm on PUNTO’s main stage.

A diverse group of multidisciplinary women in the arts, performers, and storytellers will take the stage on topics to include gender, age, culture, motherhood and being a woman.

The evening is sponsored by PUNTO Space, an event and performance raw space located in Midtown West (NYC) founded by theater and performing artists with social good in mind.

Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good is a celebration that amplifies artist autonomy, inclusion in the arts and collaboration.

Light refreshments will be served. Admittance is RSVP-only and complimentary for guests.