Dancing with conflict

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I’ve read books by record business veterans who claim their artistes tend to be most productive when they have to deal with conflict .In the opinion of these managers, a little conflict is useful for the bank balance, so they aim to find ways to allow resentments to simmer, without bubbling over into outright violence.

Malcolm McLaren, the canny manager of The Sex Pistols, Bow wow wow and a successful recording artiste in his own right, ventured even further in an interview to float the idea that societies with conflicting group dynamics tend to produce great music. He gave examples, such as the Blues – probably the greatest American musical genre and the international impact of South African music, to prove his point.

There could be some truth in these ideas, but it is unlikely that contrived or unnecessary conflict is going produce the goods in a creative setting. The majority of artists are probably mainly preoccupied with basic survival. Is it useful to have to expend energy on dealing with tension?

Self knowledge is a curious thing. A person can claim to be aware of his or her own shortcomings, but not actually recognise when they are pressing buttons that set others off. Are intellectual and emotional knowledge fused together as one? Or do we sometimes need to allow our hearts to catch up with us?

When we press buttons that make those close to us uncomfortable, what is going on in the mind of the person doing the pressing? Does this account for the existence of such a term as the “self destruct button”?