What the Tragedy in Japan Can Teach Us Re Divorce/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on March 14, 2011

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Many news reports and op-ed pieces have commented about the calm that reigns supreme in Japan. Rationing of gas, for example, has led to gas lines of more than one hour. Some wait the hour only to find that no gas is available. Yet there is calm, cooperation, and acts of kindness. Is it culture at work, relious feeling at work, or a sense of chauvinism? I have seen no definitive answer. But one thing is clear. How one acts under duress is a learned reaction.
Some will justify the extreme behaviors and machinations that crop up during a period of divorce by focusing on the stress and anguish that comes in the wake of a parting oft he ways. Divorce no doubt is anguishing. Is it more stressful than burying a nation’s dead, facing a nuclear meltdown, and a scarcity of food and water? Likely not. Japan shows us all that national adversity need not lead to looting, exploitation and a recreation of “Lord of the Flies”. How one deals with adversity is a response that can be learned and internalized. Some will use divorce as an excuse to render revenge and use the legal system to punish the “guilty”. Others will use the opportunity to be civil, collaborative, and ever dignified. They will seek out Win-Win. The choice is ours. Man, as Viktor Frankl, pointed out is capable of the most heroic acts and the most base acts. The choice is clear-cut. Make the choices that you will be proud of for the balance of your lives, even as stress is ever-present.

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