Discussion or Dialog?

Discussion, although sometimes necessary for an immediate solution, isn't the method to bring about peace among all people. So, I have been thinking quite a bit lately about dialog. Is it even possible? I think so. Some think that in the field of religion it is impossible because, for true dialog to occur, each party must suspend their own beliefs, certainties and assumptions. And, as we all may know, religion is one of the most embedded fields for non-negotiables. Here's another list, comparing discussion with dialog:
  1. Discussion comes from a fixed position. Dialog suspends its position.
  2. Discussion exchanges opinions. Dialog discovers new ideas.
  3. Discussion is in favor of its own view. Dialog is open to the view of the other.
  4. Discussion attempts to convert the other. Dialog listens to the other.
  5. Discussion produces agreement, compromise or division. Dialog creates a new place.
  6. Discussion can become more rigid. Dialog softens and opens.
  7. Discussion can become confrontational. Dialog is sympathetic.
  8. Discussion has non-negotiables. For dialog, everything is negotiable.
  9. Discussion will not produce deep change. Dialog invites it.
  10. Discussion does not require a spirit of goodwill. Dialog assumes unity.
I suggest that we find ways to dialog. This could begin with ourselves. We can dialog with ourselves first by suspending our beliefs, opinions or assumptions... those ideas we think are absolutely necessary... to discover new ways of thinking and even different and creative modes of thought and ways of relating. Then we can expand this out to others close to us, and eventually to our enemies. I'm asking: is it even possible? Can a religious person suspend their conclusions in order to discover a new way of being? As someone once said, "The cup has to be empty to hold something." (Thanks to David Bohm, who's ideas in quantum physics have encouraged me to think even further in this direction.) twitter me Check out my t-shirts HERE. I'm growing my inventory all the time. And check out my contemplative art here.

Leave a comment