Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Compliance verses Compromise

Several days ago I heard mention of the U.S. interrogation techniques with "terror suspects" with all kinds of coercion including various levels of torture. The commentator talked of how pressure techniques including these could bring compliance, but not compromise. As a result he noted that pressured individuals would say what they felt their interviewers wanted to hear and/or whatever would get the pressures upon them lessoned. The truth, of course, was generally far, far from what was gotten nearly all the time!

The interviewer talked of how one could also interview prisoners and similar and seek to get them to compromise their beliefs and cooperate and give information which would be true. This would of necessity take time and effort and not always succeed. When it did succeed the knowledge gained likely would be true. In the former situation one never could know if what was said was true. Most commonly information gained through "compliance" is not true.

The discussion of these two different approaches seems relevant to me for how we deal with our interpersonal relationships often (with pressure - not torture). When we seek "compliance" often others may agree with us, but what do we gain? When we seek "compromise" we may both get at truths and understanding of each other.


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