Monday, February 16, 2009

Dialogue vs. Discussion

Sometimes, my challenge in holding knowledge is that what was once a big "ah-ha" for me the first time becomes "a given" later. It is interesting when I am reminded of what has become assumed.

My favorite Sociology professor, Dusan Bjelic informed my understanding of the phenomenology of knowledge. He taught me that knowledge is both assumption and context. In one class, he illustrated this will an exploration of jokes. What makes them funny is the assumptions we make based on cultural knowledge. The positioning of assumed and contextual elements is the craft of the comedian.

However, when knowledge accumulates it can create distance in people. How often the I have gauged my relationship or established a sense of belonging based on what is being "discussed". Alternately, I have found that "dialogue" as an electro-magnetic quality that pulls me in. Language is the field that we shape make meaning together and creating reality; the web that forms the bounds of community. Are you with me?

Kathrine Wismer, a master in her field of training and development and who is working with me on the Conversations for Social Action project just completed a webinar designed to help people learn dialogue and discussion. See Dialogue for Change-webinar-Katharine Wismer_Feb.2009.ppt on our wiki.

Thanks to Katharine offering today, I am join her in affirmation of the regenerative and renewing qualities of dialogue. Also, by creating this module she's provided me an opportunity to reflect on my knowledge of this as a given.

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