Open Dialogue as a form of inquiry

Maybe we’ve noticed some of our patterns of thinking - to speak about them we should actually notice them as they are occuring.Are they actually showing or do we think that there are patterns which we should be free of?

@Utes has questions. Can I suggest we play “conscious dialogue”!??

Unfortunately Utes doesn’t seem to be a native English speaker - if you want to play Utes, can I suggest you ask one simple question - please take your time to make it clear and precise.

Should we start with this question? Are you happy with it? or maybe you can ask it again, in a simpler more precise way?

Meanwhile I’l lay out the “rules” again.

So the rules are :

We are actually interested in what is being said (maybe even why the speaker is saying it?) rather than anything else like : what they should be saying, what the answer is, whether its a good/correct question or statement, whether this is a stupid game etc…

We are aware of our knee jerk reactions, we don’t voice them immediately but rather come back to what is being said by the speaker - we can:

ask questions to clarify what is being said, or repeat what we think is being said in our own words.

Thats it for now - simple. Lets see where it goes

Obviously, we can’t be “free” of our conditioned reactions, but by being more interested in - than opposed to - our reactions, we can learn about why we react the way we do.

Okay, but is this a game or an experiment?

Since we can’t help but react according to our beliefs about what should/should-not-be, all we can do is be more mindful, aware of them as they occur. This way we can “begin with freedom” by regarding our reactions more openly, less certainly, than usual.

Thanks - whatever we decide to call this activity - I suggest we dive right in without any further attempts at forecasting the results. However, as we gain experience we can add to the initial guidelines.

We need at least 2 interlocutors - and then we may begin. I’ll give it a go, so thats one fool for starters.

If a 2nd person agrees to participate, we’ll open up another thread dedicated to the “open dialogue” and leave this one open to a discussion about the process of “open dialogue” - in fact, even if no one volunteers to be a 2nd participant, I’ll open up the dedicated thread (in the hope of attracting more eyes, as maybe no one is following this thread)

Please state the ‘rules’ at the beginning of the OD threads. Merci!

I didn´t know my English is that bad, sorry.
I´m fine with the question - maybe you could put it in your own words in a more precise and simpler way as a starter?

I used the word ‘pattern’ of thought because I see there is a repetition in my thinking and feelings. And I realized that this patterning may provide the sense of the continuity of ‘me’? The sense of the continuous existence of ‘me’?As if thought by staying in certain channels and not straying outside them gives a sense of security as well as continuity? You think like you and I think like me? (Habitual thought and habitual body movements, gestures, etc)

I agree to participate.


I’ll participate also…,

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I agree, this seems to be the case.
It seems to me that we do not actually notice the repetitive nature of our thinking while it is happening.The repetitve pattern of our thinking seems to happen automatically, in the dark. I thought the experiment of a conscious dialogue might shed a light on this repetitive, unconscious activity, so that we actually see what we are talking about.
If you bear with the language difficulties I’ll participate, too.

Excellent - the new thread is open - now we just need someone (us or another as yet unknown participant) to make an opening statement - preferably something that they are genuinely interested in.

@rickScott wrote : "Let me know whether I trampled on any of the guidelines for this dialogue."

My first worry was whether you were trying to repeat what Dan was saying, or whether you had already flown off into speculative flights of fancy - we always have a tendancy to pull everything back to our pet theories. I know I do - I also feel a bit guilty of too much interpretation.

And now I have even asked a question - is that allowed?

I’m wondering if the experiment would be more or less interesting if we we more or less strict about the rules.

Anyway we can see what happens with this first attempt - and reconsider afterwards.

@Utes @Inquiry @rickScott @DanMcD @BobHearns

Howdy all!
Can we regroup and debrief? How do you all think the experimental dialogue thread is going?

As far as I can tell it went off track, bush crazy - I mean back to our normal way of discussing stuff here - around post 8 (Utes first post on the thread - and the last one that seemed to be playing by the rules)
What do you reckon? Is the stuff we want to say just so important it cannot be ignored? What’s going on?

@BobHearns were you aware of what was being attempted on the thread?
@Inquiry were you attempting to follow the guidelines? Despite squinting real hard even your first post seemed very similar to your usual message rather than a personal reiteration of the statement you were addressing.

Personally, I got the feeling that even in the small space where we were just clarifying what Dan’s initial question meant - there was something interesting and new being created. I mean isn’t what we say a mirror of where we are? And together the activity of shining a light on what we are saying/feeling/believing is that not a formidable tool of illumination?

Listening to the ‘other’s’ thoughts as if they were ‘my’ own without judgement, is a kind of ‘caring’?

Not the usual ‘tyranny’ of thought.

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Looking again at what has been said since the experiment went off the tracks - and in accord with something I read about Bohm dialogue - I’m wondering if a new rule is needed namely :

  • If we feel that a statement is somehow wrong - so full of problems that we cannot make a positive reply to it, then we should refrain from replying. Rather than make a negative comment about what has been said, just keep our thoughts to ourselves - or at most : tell the group that we are having a difficult psychological reaction and cannot respond positively - or just ask for definitions/clarifications about triggering terms that may have been used.

? ? Yes, No?

PS. of course, if we just follow rule no.1, rule no.2 is unnecessary.


Alright, I’ll go back and start over from that point. Let me know as soon as I’ve strayed.

You are free to try and follow the guidelines as you see them - but the experiment has broken down, is on hold, game over, for the moment.

If you are the only one playing, and your interlocutor is not aware that you are playing - then the game loses its meaning (like playing chess against a cat)

Sorry gotta go - I’ll have a look at your latest comments on the experiment thread later.
OK its now later :


Because I feel that I am as I imagine myself, yet others perceive me as someone else, and I usually realize I am not who I think I am, the implication is that we are all living more in accordance with what we think about what we’re aware of than with what awareness tells us. Is this what you’re saying?

If I was to say what would lose you points in how you played this :

  • minus 10 points for actually answering the question (ie. Q: What are the implications…?" A: “The implications are…”)
  • minus 0.5 points for adding in agents that were absent in the original statement - eg. “yet others perceive me” - but you would be able to contest my scoring here, we were all guilty of shoehorning a little message into our replies, and if you honestly felt that this was an honest representation of what Dan was saying, then I can’t really dock you the 0.5 points.
  • minus 0.5 points for overcomplex sentence construction - difficult for the reader to follow

To me it is really a big difference to talk with you than merely to read what you are writing here.
It is the participation, the interaction with you that brings about a feeling of friendship, or being together .

Me talking with you seems to enable a better listening to you. And your listening seems to enable a better talking of me with you. We are in it together. This is what I feel.