Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday morning pondering

Almost twenty years ago, David Bohm wrote in his book On Dialogue about the concern for the breakdown in communication that was occurring.  This concern came in spite of the instant communication that was occurring with modern technology.  He wrote that people hardly seem able to talk to each other without fighting or understanding the other beyond the superficial level.

In dialogue, common ideas or information that is already known is not the emphasis but rather aims to create something new together.  Something new emerges when people are able to freely listen to each other, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other.  What is described as a "problem of communication" occurs when people simply want to convey ideas or points of view and often information is conveyed with elements of power or authority to a passive recipient or audience.

Bohm describes that in all of us there are "blocks," the insensitivity or anesthesia about one's own contradictions, the subtle fear that we need to be attentive to in order to listen freely. 

Wow.  Who of us has taken the time recently to actually do some inward processing, to get in touch with our fears, our "blocks" that keep us from making connection? 

Our fragmented society is moving at such a fast, self-centered pace, that I am guessing we are not too far off from the concern of a couple of decades ago (will we ever get it right?).  We have the tendency to put the blame outside of ourselves - it's technology, it's education, it's politics, that are shaping our future.  How can we encourage the other to do more reflection, to be in touch with their own "blocks" when we are not doing the same?  I hope what flows out of slowing down and paying attention to what is within moves us towards others in a posture that leads to new ways of conversing and connecting.

This leads me to wonder about what we do with the past trauma, hurt, and fears that surface when doing this inward reflection?  Wholeness does not just happen and communication cannot wait until we are whole.  We need to be present now, we need to engage in meaningful ways, we need to try even though we will fail.  Which maybe brings us back full circle, to needing others, to be in community, which means we need to communicate, to listen deeply to the other, to create something new together in dialogue.

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