View Full Version : Dialogue/Cooperation as Debate/Conflict

05-02-2010, 11:14 AM
Dialogue/Cooperation as Debate/Conflict

Dialogue is to cooperation as debate is to conflict. Dialogue utilizes communication to facilitate harmony with the other while debate utilizes argumentation power to facilitate victory over the other.

Internet discussion forums advance the human aggressive desire (verbal video games); we have no such forum to advance the human need for harmonious cooperation. Dialogue is designed for the sophisticated intellect while debate is designed for the sophisticated sportsman. Debate has gotten our world into the mess we are now in: only dialogue can turn the stampeding herd from the cliffs ahead.

I think that our first step is for a significant percentage of our population to become intellectually sophisticated sufficiently so as to make many citizens capable of engaging in dialogical reasoning. To do this I think that many citizens must become self-actualizing self-learners when their school daze are over.

Under our normal cultural situation communication means to discourse, to exchange opinions with one another. It seems to me that there are opinions, considered opinions, and judgments. Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. Considered opinions, however, are opinions that have received a considerable degree of thought but have not received special study. A considered opinion starts out perhaps as tacit knowledge but receives sufficient intellectual attention to have become consciously organized in some fashion. Judgments are made within a process of study.

In dialogue, person ‘A’ may state a thesis and in return person ‘B’ does not respond with exactly the same meaning as does ‘A’. The meanings are generally similar but not identical; thus ‘A’ listening to ‘B’ perceives a disconnect between what she said and what ‘B’ replies. ‘A’ then has the opportunity to respond with this disconnect in mind, thereby creating a response that takes these matters into consideration; ‘A’ performs an operation known as a dialectic (a juxtaposition of opposed or contradictory ideas). And so the dialogical process proceeds.

A dialogical process is not one wherein individuals reason together in an attempt to make common ideas that are already known to each individual. “Rather, it may be said that the two people are making something in common, i.e., creating something new together.” Dialogical reasoning together is an act of creation, of mutual understanding, of meaning.

Dialogic can happen only if both individuals wish to reason together in truth, in coherence, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other. Each must be prepared to “drop his old ideas and intentions. And be ready to go on to something different, when this is called for…Thus, if people are to cooperate (i.e., literally to ‘work together’) they have to be able to create something in common, something that takes shape in their mutual discussions and actions, rather than something that is conveyed from one person who acts as an authority to the others, who act as passive instruments of this authority.”

“On Dialogue” written by “The late David Bohm, one of the greatest physicists and foremost thinkers this century, was Fellow of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Bohm is convinced that communication is breaking down as a result of the crude and insensitive manner in which it is transpiring. Communication is a concept with a common meaning that does not fit well with the concepts of dialogue, dialectic, and dialogic.

I claim that if we citizens do not learn to dialogue we cannot learn to live together in harmony sufficient to save the species.

Do you have any interest in taking that first step required (intellectual sophistication) to dialogue?

Quotes from Critical Thinking by Richard Paul

05-02-2010, 11:52 PM
I appreciate your sharing your thoughts about the differences between debate and dialogue, and your observations about how internet discussion forums tend to be places where aggressive debate rather than true dialogue predominates. I don't know that such forums per se advance the human aggressive desire, as you seem to be saying, or whether it is the aggressive impulse that gives internet forums the character that you describe. I do know that I've been involved in discussions here in the BhTV forums that have been cooperative, mutually exploratory dialogues, so it is possible.

Upon reflection, however, I would say that the anonymity of web forums does make them less conducive to true dialogue than face-to-face conversation. As I have written elsewhere in these forums (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=154604&postcount=1): online, where everyone is anonymous and no one is face to face, it is easy to give in to the temptation/impulse to toss off a dismissive, condescending and even downright nasty reply to the person with whom you disagree.

I am in agreement with what you wrote about dialogic, as you define it, being possible only if both individuals can enter into conversation without prejudice and especially without trying to influence each other. The impulse to influence or convince another has become so ingrained within us over many, many centuries that it is difficult indeed to root out. I know this from my own personal experience of catching myself having unconsciously slipped into the mode of influencing or convincing, even though I would like to think I know better than to do so.

I understand from reading some of your previous posts that your own post-formal self-education has been powerful and meaningful for you in your own quest for self-knowledge. And while that would probably be the case for many others as well, I would hesitate to turn that into a prescription for everyone.

I am in sympathy with your view that the true dialogue you describe, which involves listening with great attention and care, and which in my view is really a form of love, is what is needed for humankind to make the necessary adjustments for survival.

05-03-2010, 07:47 AM
Wow! To both of you! Nice posts!

(I only have time for cheer leading this morning, besides what could be added?)


05-05-2010, 04:42 PM
Coberst, I came across this talk (http://www.jkrishnamurti.com/krishnamurti-teachings/view-text.php?tid=1331&chid=1030) today, by someone who was closely associated with David Bohm for a number of years. I thought you might find it interesting, as it goes into many of the same ideas about what makes for true dialogue that you wrote about in your post. For example, to quote briefly from the talk:

The Totalitarian, the so-called Democratic, the Capitalists and the Marxists and so on agreeing and disagreeing, opposing and defending. Whereas we are asking if we could think together freely, you letting go all your experiences, your conclusions, your desires, prejudices and so on, putting them aside so that together we can think. Will you do that? You and the speaker putting aside his beliefs, his opinions and judgments and evaluations, his hopes and so on, and together think... Which means that being free of our own personal problems, urges, demands, fulfilments and so on, being free to investigate ogether....

You concluded your post by saying:

I claim that if we citizens do not learn to dialogue we cannot learn to live together in harmony sufficient to save the species.

To compare that with the conclusion of the talk:

This is the purpose of these talks and dialogues, that we together dissolve all our problems because the self-centred problem is greater than the problems of the world - political, energy, various countries divided, that is nothing compared to this.

(There is also this audio recording (http://www.jkrishnamurti.com/krishnamurti-teachings/listen-audio/is-there-a-way-out-of-the-crisis-in-the-world-part-1-of-7.php) of the same talk.)

05-05-2010, 07:19 PM

05-06-2010, 07:19 AM
Listener thanks for that reference

05-06-2010, 11:28 AM
Listener thanks for that reference

You're welcome.