The inverse also holds: it is in the performance of making conflict with others that we inhibit the interpersonal and collaborative conditions for creating and maintaining peace-sustaining institutions and structures and instead create conflict-sustaining ones.
Peace and conflict, therefore, are performances; they are actions taken based on the decisions of people. It is not just what we do, however, that concerns the Insight approach, it is how we use our minds to do it.
The Insight Loop, derived by Jamie Price from the final two of Lonergan's four levels of consciousness, depicts the operations of our minds in a looping figure “8,” where each operation is cumulative, progressive, and driven by a spontaneous desire to know. The Loop shows in stop-frame the pattern of how we use our minds.
Because of our spontaneous desire to know, our minds loop in this way: we move through our conscious operations by asking questions and seeking their answers (getting insights). Our first conscious operation, which you can see on the right side of the bottom loop is experiencing; we experience something—whether it is a sound or an event or a feeling or the action of another—then we seek to understand it by asking the question "what is it" and generating ideas, or insights, to answer that question. Having generated insights about the possibilities of what our experience might be, we verify that we have it right by asking ourselves, "is it so?" These three operations, experiencing, understanding and verifying constitute the “reflective” level of consciousness, the lower loop, which is our conscious performance of coming to know.
Once we are certain that we know, we move to the “existential” level of consciousness, the upper loop, where we decide to act. Here we value what we have come to know. Valuing is one of the key variables in the Insight approach because when we value what we know we get an insight “that grasps a link between presenting circumstances and a … future, an insight that typically provides an impetus for action” (Price, "Method in Peacemaking," 619). This insight-link is accompanied by a feeling—joy, fear, excitement, disgust—that affectively constitutes the answer to the question "what does this matter to me?" It is a feeling rooted in personal and cultural values and expectations, and it presents to us an affectively structured narrative that indicates the significance of what we know about our present experience and the likely future result of it (Melchin and Picard, Transforming Conflict through Insight).
Once we have valued what we know, we deliberate. In deliberating we ask what we can do about what we know. We generate possible options for action. We then evaluate those possibilities in the operation of evaluating, asking ourselves what we should do and choosing the best option for acting. We then move on to the operation of deciding to act, asking ourselves what will I do? Ultimately we do what we will; we act, which becomes a concrete and measurable happening in the world—an experience for both our own minds and the minds of others to operate on—stimulating further cognitive looping—the continual process of knowing, valuing and deciding to act. This schematic of the operations of consciousness objectifies the pattern in which use our minds to know and to act, which directs our attention toward what is going on when we are acting in a way that manifests in conflict behavior.
It is important to point out that we loop extraordinarily fast. So fast, that we usually don't notice the pattern in which we use our minds, because we are so used to using our minds.
We also experience multiple experiences simultaneously, so we loop on a number of things at the same time. Our minds are very efficient and very complex.
Even though we loop extraordinarily fast and are looping on more than one thing simultaneously, we can pay attention to our looping when we focus on it.
When we focus on our looping we become "reflexive." We are able to reflect on our own knowing, valuing and doing, we give ourselves the opportunity to check out how well we know, how mindful we are when valuing what we know, and whether what we are doing is the best thing to do. Being reflexive helps us make better and more precise decisions. When we can make better and more precise decisions, we tend to choose peace over conflict.