In the following essay, I would like to consider the principle of charity and how it can be applied in conflict situations. In particular, in daily life, people often misunderstand each other. This occurs on multiple levels: from politics and media, to simple daily situations in a family or work setting. I would like to focus on a situation that often occurs on an interpersonal level: when two people are basically talking about the same thing, yet they cannot seem to find understanding. What is more, they delve deeper into conflict, despite wanting to find common ground.
The situation that I would like to discuss happened when I was in eight grade. At the dinner table, my parents were philosophizing about the type of house that we should buy. The argument quickly turned into a fight, since my mother preferred one neighborhood over the other, while my father was exceptionally devoted to a narrow set of neighborhoods. Yet, there, as my mother explained, we could not find a cozy country house, one that she had dreamed of all her life. Basically, a long-time family dream of purchasing a beautiful house turned into a huge conflict.
When my parents cooled down and picked their arguments apart, they were able to realize that their goals were similar. Both wanted to live in a comfortable and beautiful home, yet my father did not wish to commute for a long time each day; this is why he cared so much about the location. For my mother, this was not an issue, since she was working as a freelancer at the time. After applying the principle of charity, my mother admitted that she would prefer it if my father spent more time at home. Hence, she was also interested in purchasing a house as close to my father’s office as possible in order to decrease the time he spent commuting.
At the end of the day, numerous fights and conflicts arise from a feeling of self-righteousness, when one does not wish to hear the other person. Yet, if the principle of charity is applied, people learn to empathize and see the situation from another’s perspective. When it comes to me, I would say that I apply the principle of charity on a daily basis with others. The only case when I do not apply it is when another person accuses me unfairly of something that I did not do.