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What is it that gets revealed in a dialogue?

First of all, we have to be sure that we are all using the word ‘dialogue’ in similar fashion. A dialogue is very different from a debate or a discussion. In a debate, the participants often arrive with prepared arguments and view-points; and therefore conflict is built into the very structure of the format for communication. In a discussion, although there may be many side tracks away from the main theme or topic, there is usually some central issue or problem for people to get to grips with; and often such topics attract to them people with their own prepared agendas and solutions. At the end of these sorts of things there is usually some sense of a conclusion, albeit a compromise or an agreement to disagree, whatever that means, or a sense of disjointed and abandoned projects.

But dialogue is different. There is no prepared agenda in the way that a debate or a discussion might operate because this is about two or more people looking at the whole panorama of existence, which includes looking carefully at themselves, at their relationship with each other and their relationship to the world outside.

Looking carefully at our lives in this way and getting involved in a dialogue, what is it that gets revealed? What is the new thing that gets discovered that we have never seen before? Obviously, the answer to this question cannot be stated in advance. In that respect it is a little like a rhetorical question. But it is a rhetorical question with some bite to it because the answer lies deep within the question; a surface glance and response are not enough. There is tremendous energy in a dialogue unlike in any other form of human communion. This energy soon gets dissipated as the past comes into play, whether as old images of the other participants, as a fixed world view or as vague hopes, dreams and wishes.

But if you and I are determined to meet together, look together and think together then there is no doubt at all that something extraordinary happens. For then we begin to acquire an appetite for order, a natural desire for order, which nothing on earth can prevent.

This is a discussion forum. If you want dialogue, create an online dialogue forum.

Then it is a waste of time, isn’t it? We are already at loggerheads.

This it seems would be the result of the particular communion of dialogue. Could you say it another way (other than “appetite for order”)?
Is this “appetite for order” the result of the ending of fear/understanding of conflict?

**While this is grammatically correct, it illustrates the common tendency to assume that the way we understand a word, is the same as how another person is using the word. The phrase “Freedom From the Known” seems to suggest no attachment to a particular usage of language. A freedom to listen to the other persons meaning, free of any obstruction of knowledge.
It’s clear that this website says, Kinfonet ‘discussion’. But is the ‘intention’ behind that word actually different than Paul’s description of dialogue?
Are we able to listen to each other’s 'meaning’s, without a reflex reaction from memory?
If not, what’s the nature of the blockage?

For example:

K: I think we ought to be clear what these so-called discussions are. They are a dialogue , a form of conversing seriously together about problems, going into them not only analytically, carefully, but also seeing the whole structure of each problem: not merely the details of it, but its whole form and content. As this is a conversation, a dialogue between you and the speaker, we ought to be vulnerable; that is, not have any defence, any resistance, but be willing to expose ourselves completely not only to the problem, but to what is involved in the problem, giving our whole attention to it. So this dialogue , this conversation is not an intellectual amusement, a mere exchange of arguments - one opinion against another, or one formula against another formula, or one experience against various other experiences.

If there is any reality to dialogue, and anything it can reveal, it can only be what is actually so. Is there anyone to actually embark on such a thing? or is there only a ghost in a biological machine? one tormented by visions of a self and others? Dialogue may just be a word for ‘not subject to control’, and what self can cope with that? From the first it must awaken ‘fear’ as image of what is separate from image maker who would control it. Dialogue poses a very grave threat to a self unlikely to survive the encounter, hence its reluctance to engage beyond its ability as it thinks of it to cope. Does dialogue have anything to do with the idea of two or more, or even one, or is it something beyond such a notion? Is not the idea of a someone, and a someone else, something dialogue brings into question?

It seems that most human beings have an appetite for conflict, which is something left over from the ancient, animalistic part of the brain that seeks its own survival over everything else. Our ancestors were concerned primarily with the survival of their physical bodies and we still have that concern because it is the natural intelligence of every living organism to seek to maintain its own existence. But our psychological concerns have no such intelligence at their roots because our psyche is not a living organism. Although the human psyche is a vast and intricate structure, it is formed wholly from fragments of the past. There is order only when this entire structure has collapsed, when the past no longer imposes itself upon the present.

While one is caught up in all the contradictions of the psyche, the desire for order must always arise from a background of disorder; and the desire for freedom must always be conditioned by the prison walls. So our psychological appetites are inherently disordered.

In a dialogue all this can be seen; and therefore an appetite develops for an order that has nothing whatsoever to do with the limited contradictions of psyche. It is like finding fresh food after a lifetime spent eating processed meals.

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A dialogue is an invitation to expire well before one’s expiry date is due. Then we shall find out if there is life after death. Psychologically, we are separated from the rest of the world, and so whatever we do within that field of separation we must inevitably create conflict. A dialogue explores the ending of that field.

Then we shall find out if there is life without fear.

That’s the first thing to look at: fear in all its guises. There will always be risks, hazards and dangers in life; it is full of challenges. But what is fear? Fear can only exist in time; and time is the product of thought. Therefore, a life without fear is only possible once we have seen without distortion the whole nature and structure of thought. Fear, time and thought are one inseparable movement.

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Is the thing called dialogue, a series of exchanges between two or more, and is there anyone who can issue an invitation to it, or anyone to whom it can be made, or is that to subtly reinforce something, in line with an equally subtle need for control, which then mitigates against anything actual? Who or what really is there to dialogue with, as set against something called dialogue just being, regardless of a specific exchange? There is something about this persistent notion of dialogue as something one does or one conducts, which does not ring true. Dialogue cannot depend on any condition being fulfilled, which is why one cannot command dialogue to be through the simple expedient of drawing a group together and forming a circle.

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Good question - the ground of all relationship being the relationship with the authority in our own heads (namely knowledge)

Thought is always trying to get somewhere. Which is fine in the practical but in the psychological, it is another way to bring time/becoming into the situation, where it has no place… If discussion points back at one’s ‘nothing-ness’ or the ‘value’ of ‘empty-ness’ rather than one’s knowledge, beliefs or speculations,(the intellect), it would be of a different ‘dimension’, wouldn’t it?..And the same would hold true with our relations, with nature e.g.?..But there has to be in that a ‘remembering’ , or is it a ‘dis-membering’?

What do you mean by ‘anything actual’? I am inviting you to take part in a dialogue. It is an open door. But to find out if there is anything actual you have to step inside. It is not a command; it is an invitation. In order to explore the nature of our humanity we have to meet one another.

Do we really? Do both of us have to be involved? Or can there be insight during a conversation with a used car salesman?

Call it dialogue or maybe discussion but the commonality is that it is just the avoidance of reality.

By actual I mean true, not originating in thought, not under my control, not in my gift.

In the language here there is a subtle promotion of agency in this regard, and a reinforcing of the notion self and other. What specific dialogue will reveal the factors involved in this, when they are present from the outset and throughout, colouring the responses, and limiting what the concept ‘dialogue’ is pointing to?

Yes, but the getting somewhere is essentially getting away, and trying to stay in control of what is happening, with the controller separate from what it is trying to keep at bay.

It is not remembering that is required so much as attention being constant, and an awareness of what leads to inattention, which may be conceived of as forgetfullness

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**Isn’t it rather obvious that it’s human beings, or humanity, that would actually have a dialogue together? Wasn’t it the human being called Paul that started this invitation?
What gets revealed in dialogue is whatever each human is open to observing. Most of the time, as can be observed, what is reveled is beliefs and opinions. All of the psychological theories of what we “need” to do, or theories about dialogue, in the present case.
But if we’re talking about the sort of dialogue K and Bohm suggested, it’s an observational exploration of what actually is, that is open to an observation of everything internal and external. The talking part, in doing this together, is to share what we’re each seeing in the observation together. That’s the description that seems to fit it.

Any insight may be an illusion; in a dialogue we can test it out. I doubt the salesman would be interested.