How does spiral debate work?
Spiral debate values win, win, win. You, we and they.
Ooka Echizen (18th-century City Commissioner of Edo) made three parties (the accuser, the accused and the judge, himself) happy.
The accused man A lost 3 ryo somewhere on the street, 3 ryo was a lot of money for a small business leader who had to pay his employees as a year-end bonus. December is a busy month for merchants.
The accuser B who picked up the money on the street developed empathic feeling for the one who lost the money, spent the whole day looking for the distressed man. But when he found the man A, he refused to accept the money, arguing that the money belonged to the finder, because it was no longer his. Neither gave an inch. So they brought the matter to the City Commissioner for justice.
Justice? What kind of justice is this? Ooka Echizen wondered loud. 3 ryo is a lot of money. He thought hard to himself and passed a verdict.
“This town magistrate is hugely impressed. So we’ll donate one ryo. And you must surrender the 3 ryo to this bugyo (magistrate). That’s 4 ryo, right? Now, listen. We’ll give you 2 ryo each.”
Both men, the accused and the accuser, shook their heads with disbelief and said, “Why, your honor?”
Ooka said, “3 ryo ought to belong to either of you legally speaking. And either of you deserves 3 ryo. But both of you have accepted the loss. So both of you don’t mind losing one ryo and we the magistrate can happily lose one ryo. Everyone of us loses one ryo. Everyone suffers. And everyone is happy now.”
That’s an offer any samurai cannot refuse.
The end of the legal (or paralegal) case.
This is called “sampo-ichi-ryo-son”(three parties lose a ryo), because everyone is happy by sharing the loss of a ryo.(円満解決)
This is nothing but a win-win-win solution.
What a beauty of spiral logic.
Why? A win-or-lose ends up hurting the loser. A win-win deal is often made behind the scenes at the expense of the bona fide outsiders. A win-win-win deal honors everyone involved and it hurts nobody. That’s the self-sacrificing spirit of Bushido. The story will make every samurai weep, even today.