Dialogue as a free flow of meaning……

The word dialogue is based on the Greek ‚dia‘ meaning ‘through‘ and ‚logos‘ meaning ‚the word‘. But what is signified here is not the word as such (i.e. the sound) but its meaning. Dialogue is a free flow of meaning between people. We may use here the image of a stream flowing between banks.
What is essential for dialogue is that while a person may prefer a certain position, he or she does not hold to it nonnegotiably. Such a person is ready to listen to others with sufficient sympathy and interest to understand the meaning of the other’s position properly and is ready to change his or her own point of view if there is good reason to do so. Evidently, a spirit of goodwill or friendship is necessary for this to take place. It is not compatible with a spirit that is competitive, contentious, or aggressive.
If people are able to engage in a real dialogue, then there can be a free flow of meaning, in which there can arise a creatively new common pool, that allows the group to move together in a coherent and intelligent way. This will happen when people are able to face their disagreements without either confrontation or polite avoidance of the issue, and when they are willing to explore together points of view to which they may not personally subscribe. If they can in this way engage in a dialogue that is free of evasion or anger, they will find that no fixed position is so important that it is worth holding at the expense of blocking the creativity of the dialogue itself. If this sort of thing could ever happen on a large scale, it would constitute a revolutionary transformation of the very nature of culture, and even of consciousness itself.

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