Unit 2: How it works

The trainers will give handouts with the following text to the participants, which they will have to read before starting the activity:

“For Gulliver the problem of war in Lilliput was complicated. Each side in the conflict explained to him how important it was to crack the egg on the right side, the long tradition that supported their position, the great number of martyrs their cause had brought about… After so many wars, after so many deaths, would they betray their ancestors by giving in and agreeing to crack the eggs on the wrong side? Never! They would rather die! But Gulliver got it right, he tried to get the warring parties to stop arguing so much about why they were fighting and who was really to blame. He tried to get them to think of a peaceful future. Yes, they all wanted peace. They already had something in common to fight for. He then asked the parties if, for the sake of the common good and peace, they would be willing to break the egg by a narrower area and by a less narrow area respectively. Both sides agreed. In the end he got everyone to break the egg in half. Peace reigned at last and everyone celebrated. But severe courts had to be set up to punish anyone who did not break the egg exactly in half…”.

“Hawk: – We must intensify our efforts. We must make it clear that we will never change our policy. Our enemies will eventually be forced to change theirs.

Pigeon: – We have to relax our policy a little in order to get them to do the same”.

(Txomin LAMIKIZ; Ensayo sobre prospectiva. Ed. Hegia, 1973)

The participants will be divided into two groups with the same number of members. The following issue will be explained to them:

“Many years ago, strangely enough, the ancestors of both ethnic groups had the same idea and at the same time. It occurred to them that they could invade the neighbouring country. The invasion turned out to be a success, much easier than expected. When they arrived in the country they wanted to invade, they found that the country was totally unprotected. There were no soldiers defending it, they had all gone to invade the neighbouring country. When each group tried to regain their land, the task was utterly impossible. Trust between the two groups was totally lost. Negotiations were totally unsuccessful. Since then, both countries have been dreaming of regaining their lands, which, with the passage of time, in memory, are seen even better than the land they have now. But they have all grown fond of the land they now own, and of course they do not want to let go of what they have worked so hard to conquer, plough, cultivate and sow”.

The trainers will give each participant one territory card and two missile cards. If there are, for example, ten people on one group and nine on the other, the trainer will give both groups ten cards, each representing one tenth of the territory they now occupy. The trainers will also hand out twenty cards, each of them representing a missile.

Every thirty seconds, in turn, the groups will give a card to the trainers: either a territory or a missile. An agreement must be reached within the group as to who will be the person to give the card. If both groups give territory, the cards will be exchanged.  There will be no war, everyone will get their old territory back, in ten moves the game will be over and everyone will be back in their old country. However, if one of the two groups provokes a war by launching a missile, the name of the member of the other team who will be eliminated has to be decided. They also have to decide to whom the territory is given. When a participant is eliminated, he/she distributes his/her missiles and territories among the other participants in his/her group who have not yet been eliminated.

From time to time in each group a representative person will be chosen, who will negotiate. They will then try to convince their group, and the game will continue with an exchange of cards every thirty seconds. Representatives may also be eliminated.

Participants who are eliminated must not intervene in any way in the game, they are “dead”. If war breaks out, both groups will most likely fire missiles at each other until one of the two groups runs out of people. Who will have won then?

Discussion among all participants:

  • Who has won?
  • Which attitude do you think is smarter: hawks or doves? Why?
  • What are the advantages of acting like hawks? And what about acting like doves?

You can look for historical cases of hawk-like characters (Napoleon, Hitler, etc.) and dove-like characters (Jesus, Gandhi, etc.). You can also list the ten most influential people in History and discuss to what extent they were hawks or doves.