Chapter III. Ways to Resolve the Contradiction
First thing to learn here is, “Contradiction can be resolved.” Contradiction seems unsolvable as long as you try the overt ways to overcome it. The fact that overt ways do not work does not mean that there is no way to resolve the Contradiction. Quite opposite. Human history says, when people face the Contradiction, there is always somebody who finds how to solve and overcome or circumvent it. Contradictions, also known as “dilemmas,” “crises” or “missions: impossible,” slow down people pursuing their goals, but never stop them.
The model of “Mission: Impossible” situation shows multiple opportunities to resolve the Contradiction and accomplish the Mission.
Let’s take as an example the situation from “Mission: Impossible” movie we analyzed before:
Fig. 9. Ways to Resolve the Contradiction and accomplish the “Mission: Impossible.”
There are two ways to accomplish the Mission. Apparent decisions spring to mind immediately. If they work, the Mission could be accomplished, everything is OK. In the model, they are shown by arrows with letters A, B and C. Unobvious opportunities work when apparent decisions stop working, when experts face the “Mission: Impossible” situation. They are represented by arrows with Roman numbers I to IV.
In this model, we see the following decisions people usually could make in such complex situation:
A. Continue carrying out the IMF team operation despite of presence of mole in the IMF.
B. Stop carrying out the IMF team operation due to presence of mole in the IMF.
C. Let Ethan Hunt reveal the mole and correct the situation.
Each of them works if its “window of opportunity” is still open.
Window of opportunity for decision A is determined by influence of mole’s activities on achievement of IMF team’s operation. As long as this influence is insignificant, this opportunity is an obvious way to accomplish the Mission. However, in the movie we watch that mole’s activities resulted in substantial losses to IMF team, death of Golitsyn and disappearance of disc with NOC list. This window of opportunity is closed tight, and decision A does not work anymore.
Decision B means “abort the operation now, continue it later in a different way.” Alas, it is too late to abort the operation: IMF team is practically lost, Golitsyn is dead and disc disappeared. No way to achieve the goal in this way. Window of opportunity for decision B is closed, too.
Severity of obstacle determines the window of opportunity for decision C. In our case, Kittridge cannot allow Ethan Hunt to remain at large. CIA rules say unequivocally to take suspect into custody and interrogate him. Even if interrogation clears Ethan Hunt, time is lost, and situation cannot be corrected anymore. This window of opportunity is closed, as well. Decision C cannot be implemented.
These simple decisions should surge through the viewer’s mind and develop clear understanding that situation is an impasse. Exactly the intent of those who wrote the script. At the moment when Eugene Kittridge tells Ethan Hunt, “take these documents and go to Canada, then we take you to Langley,” everybody sees that not without reason the movie is named “Mission: Impossible.”
Why should we consider these apparent decisions? In the real life, you never know whether the window of opportunity is open or not until you consider it thoroughly. Before we start working on unobvious opportunities, we should check if the windows of overt opportunity are really closed. If we find that at least one window of opportunity is slightly open, we’re lucky to use the overt way to accomplish the Mission.