John Paul Lederach, in his very well regarded book The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace (Oxford University Press, 2005) names the “disciplines needed for peace building: Relationship, Paradoxical Curiosity, Creativity, and Risk (p.34).
Relationship – The quality of our life is dependent on the quality of life of others. (p.35)
Paradoxical Curiosity – A respect for complexity is needed and a refusal to fall into forced containers of dualism and either-or-categories. (p.36)
Creativity – A capacity to live in a personal and social space that gives birth to the unexpected. (p.38)
Risk – It is mystery lived, for it ventures into lands that are not controlled or charted. (p.39).
This book poses the question, “How do we transcend the cycles of violence that bewitch our human community while still living in them?” Peacebuilding, in the view of this book, is both a learned skill and an art. Finding this art, this book says, requires a worldview shift. Conflict professionals must envision their work as a creative act — an exercise of what the book terms the “moral imagination.” This imagination must, however, emerge from and speak to the hard realities of human affairs. The peacebuilder must have one foot in what is and one foot beyond what exists. The book is organized around four guiding stories that point to the moral imagination but are incomplete. The book seeks to understand what happened in these individual cases and how they are relevant to large-scale change. The purpose is not to propose a grand new theory; instead it wishes to stay close to the “messiness” of real processes and change, and to recognize the serendipitous nature of the discoveries and insights that emerge along the way. Like most professional peacemakers, the author of this book sees his work as a religious vocation.