The Rules for Making Peace

A paper I wrote in 2005: Peacemaking Among Primates РJB Peterson

Imagine two groups of people. Group A has their territory, and the rules that govern it. Group B has their territory, and the rules that govern it. One day, the groups come into contact. Now they have a problem. Neither now knows how to simultaneously

  1. maintain their rules and structures
  2. interact with the other group

Neither wants their societies to collapse and dissolve. Neither of them want war. Neither can pretend that the other does not exist.

So what are they to do?

Make peace.

There is a place in between the two groups, where peace must be made. The place is no-man’s-land. There are rules for operating in no-man’s-land, but they are not the same rules that operating in either group’s defined territory.

The person who wishes to make peace must know how to operate in no-man’s-land.

That’s what this paper is about.