colleagues in Jewish-Palestinian dialogue,
Our peoples -- Palestinians and Jews -- are presently overcome with fear, the way of the tribe, and old thinking. Many, but not all, are moving away from one another instead of toward each other. With few exceptions there is little creativity.
The word "dialogue" is being used more now, including by politicians entering into negotiations. But it couldn't be dialogue; too little time is devoted to too little compassionate listening.
It seems useful to remind ourselves about what leads to the kind of creativity that is needed. We thought that it might help, at this moment in time, to consider some early insights about dialogue, its roots in science, and one of its pioneers.
Also, excellent Dialogue resources are on the Web at http://www.uia.org/dialogue/webdial.htm.
We hope this is helpful. -- L&L
Dialogue: To overcome the impossible
Dr. David Bohm (1917-1992), a pioneer of dialogue, was first a great quantum physicist of the 20th century. A colleague of Einstein, Bohm overcame typically huge barriers to scientific discovery.
He responded to "impossible" challenges in a way that was unusual for scientists, and especially rare among physicists: Bohm carried his quest beyond not only physics but beyond the bounds of science altogether.
Bohm's greatness was due to his ability to leave behind everything he knew in the search for new clues and insights. In so doing, Bohm exemplified his commitment to the wholeness -- the oneness -- of life.
His dialogues with Krishnamurti, and later the Dalai Lama, set a profound precedent as some of the first enduring dialogues between a leading Western physicist and a world-renowned Eastern spiritual master. Bohm thus discovered the limitations of science and of a human's own thought. He considered other accessible human activity and dimensions wherein lie new insights, intelligence, and creativity.
In dialogue, he demonstrated, participants give serious consideration to views that may differ substantially from their own, and they are willing to hold many conflicting possibilities in their minds simultaneously. They accept what is, however uncomfortable. By this means, people in dialogue can together create the possibility for new insights and creativity to emerge, which would not be possible by merely thinking on their own.
Bohm was deeply troubled by the suffering in the world, and his vision called for a complete restructuring of our fragmented thinking into a more whole view.
"What is needed today is a new surge that is similar to the energy generated during the Renaissance but even deeper and more extensive;. . . the essential need is for a 'loosening' of rigidly held intellectual content in the tacit infrastructure of consciousness, along with a melting of the hardness of the heart on the side of feeling. The melting on the emotional side could perhaps be called the beginning of genuine love, while the loosening of thought is the beginning of awakening of creative intelligence. The two necessarily go together."
"A key difference between a dialogue and an ordinary discussion is that, within the latter people usually hold relatively fixed positions and argue in favor of their views as they try to convince others to change. At best this may produce agreement or compromise, but it does not give rise to anything creative." -David Bohm
"What is essential here is the presence of the spirit of dialogue, which is in short, the ability to hold many points of view in suspension, along with a primary interest in the creation of common meaning." -David Bohm