How Can Disagreement Get Out of Hand?

Dear Readers,

During the course of human evolution, time and again people have taken sides against each other for any number of reasons. Property lines. Religious beliefs. Election options. You name it. Disagreeing seems to be a natural – and therefore fairly common – aspect of human behavior. Thankfully, most disagreements can be settled with a little logic or reason, perhaps some legal intervention, and hopefully a healthy dose of kindness. 

But what’s gone wrong when reason fails us and our disagreements turn violent? Have we suddenly become “uncivilized?” Have we temporarily lost our minds? Are our actions based on a specific bias such as nationality, race, religion, or even sports team allegiance? Who could hate someone enough to take harmful action against them? And is this the kind of thing that leads to wars, which some might argue are just nationalized hatred?

The answers to these questions are as complex as humanity itself. One can spend a lifetime trying to understand the human personality. But for those of you who have asked if the Five Elements model might offer a degree of understanding regarding how people can hate each other enough to cause harm, I would like to offer the following thoughts.

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