The Art of Dialogue

Although knowledge emerges from a thought, knowledge encompasses much more than just a thought. In addition to encompassing thoughts and ideas, knowledge also encompasses things such as art, skill, talent, and so forth. Yet, the irony is that the most basic and fundamental building blocks of social order and social organization – namely, dialogue and talk – are difficult for a civilization and society like the West to implement and practice both internally and externally, despite its economic and technological advancement. Perhaps more troubling than its inability to express itself and engage in dialogue and open talk with the outside world is the West’s inability to overcome its internal hindrances and obstacles in the way of direct and open intra-western dialogue and talk. 

“Free Association” in both its verbal and written forms is perhaps the key technique in overcoming both the personal and interpersonal hindrances or obstacles which stand in the way of open communication, dialogue, and problem-solving. “Free Association” also takes out the stress of having difficult and painful but important and meaningful conversations, engagements, and exchanges with people by preparing people for having important and meaningful conversations, engagements, and exchanges. And once an important and meaningful conversation, engagement, or exchange starts with an interlocutor, it is conferring dignity to one’s interlocutor, clearly communicating one’s intentions, and using the right tactics which carry a conversation, engagement, and exchange through to a mutually beneficial and successful finish. 

And as the late David Bohm wisely noted, dialogue goes into something much deeper than the basic assumptions and beliefs which a person holds. Rather than scratching the surface of basic assumptions and beliefs, dialogue essentially goes into the thoughts or the ‘thought-process’ behind the basic assumptions and beliefs which a person holds. Once the thoughts or the thought-process which are behind the assumptions and beliefs of a person are addressed, then a creative and socially constructed agreement or even a social order and social organization can be borne out of such a discovery and exposition. 

And as Bohm argued, thought is essentially a system which comprises of things such as sense of identity, shared meaning with others, self-image, repression, assumptions, and beliefs about reality as a whole. This ‘thought-system’ then determines the basic culture which surrounds the system of thought. But with non-anthropomorphic and systemic changes and transformations such as globalization and technology, culture and the ‘thought-system’ which culture shields also end up changing and transforming.

Bohm also noted the basic reflexes towards such changes and evolutions in culture and thought, such as chaos, disorder, and violence. In fact, these are the basic reflexes towards globalization and technology which we are experiencing right now as an international community and international society. And while it does take a lot of time to make the adjustments to such changes and evolutions which are prompted by non-anthropomorphic and systemic phenomena such as globalization and technology, the fact of the matter is that time is of the essence and thus the adjustments need to be made sooner rather than later. The longer it takes to make the adjustments and changes, the more costly and painful it will be as a result of waiting off to make such adjustments and changes.  

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