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Friday, January 27, 2012

Notes Related to Practicing Dialogue in a Group

We can understand another's opinion. We can understand each other's opinions.

The question I ask may be latent in our group as a whole. The question another asks may be implicit to the group. Other persons may pick it up and carry it along. This question sharing may lead the group to productive thinking together. All may more nearly participate in one thought. No one need agree.

As we practice dialogue in our group, certain sensitivities are developed. We begin to sense the ways we tend to respond. We begin to attend more to whole persons, and less through the unconscious scree of our own memories. That does not mean that we think less, but rather that we attend more.

As we practice, we begin to create a truer sense of the meaning of our communication. We learn to better know what a particular opinion means to another. We are interested in meaning. We better see the meaning flowing in and through our dialogue.

We learn to be more sensitive to the fact that we tend to defend our own opinions automatically. We become more realistically sensitive to the movement and nuances of our talk.

When our group is large enough we begin to touch more large cultural assumptions. A larger group usually offers more opportunity for a kind of relationship which involves  whole cultures.

We must be part of our group long enough to get to know one another well enough to to trust each other appropriately. We need to know each other well enough to establish a relationship of sharing.

For us, Our practice is mainly a question of culture. Our group forms a microcosm of society. We are uncovering cultural assumptions to look at and to understand.

An essential feature of our dialogue is that it is able to reveal assumptions. We may form a good group, but we know that it is the process which counts and we attend to it. We don't form a group which lasts forever, but rather one that lasts long enough to make a difference.

It may be valuable to keep the dialogue going for as long as a year or two. It is very important to sustain its regularity. It must be sustained to bring out the problems that lead to the bringing out deep assumptions of the persons participating.

In sustaining the group, it is well to keep in mind that it is not always going to be entertaining nor is it always going to be seen as doing something useful. We dialogue because we feel it is necessary to do so.

It is necessary to share meaning. To sustain a way of life, a government, a society, a culture we must share meaning. To be a 'we' to be an 'us' we must share meaning.

Our society works when we have a common culture. A culture entails shared meanings. We share meaning, significance, purpose, values because we believe that it is necessary to do so in order to be.

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