The Island of Discussion

The Island of Discussion is a small, vaguely heart-shaped dot of land in western Scotland that lies in the narrow Loch Leven. The island is rocky, supports several trees and some tough grass, and is generally not a place that calls one’s name. What makes it unique is having been the location where local people in dispute were marooned together until they settled their differences. Like a good marriage, the disputants were placed in a situation that required that they reason together to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement. Isolation from society helped to de-politicize their conflict and shrink it down to a simple matter of two humans trying to co-exist peacefully. The disputants were typically left with whiskey and cheese, and togetherness was inevitable in the winter when the island was very cold at night. Couples had good motive to work at reaching an agreement. The rules on the Island of Discussion are few, but ironclad: be civil, be logical, and listen to one another. Victory is not over the other person, but over one’s own ignorance.