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Jonathan Belisle (M, 44)
Montreal, CA
Immortal since Oct 14, 2010
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    Reframing the Good: The power of the circle
    I just finished reading a FABULOUS Book. William Isaacs who wrote Dialogue: The art of thinking together as managed to resume most problems blocking the emergence of Rich and Relevant Dialog in our societies.

    William Isaacs also touches the state of Dialogues emerging on the Web and discover that that are too much noise, Comment-Based Conversations, Debate-Driven Discussion that do not lead to possibilities but rather to conclusions. Mr. Isaacs also show that there is a great unbalance between protection of ideas versus the investigation of ideas. Several Dialogs Tools are presented to go beyond discussions 2.0, empty conversations, Users Opinion-Driven Networks and the Flavor of the Week style news.

    « In his book The Gift, Lewis Hyde tells the story of early interaction between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims. The Indians brought a fine peace pipe to this first meeting and gave it to the British visitors. They were thrilled, and immediatly began to think of sending the pipe back to sit in the British Museum. The early settlers were surprised to find then that when the Indians came for another visit, an expression of goodwill would be for the British to bring out the peace pipe, smoke it with them, and give it back.

    The phrase ” Indian Giver” comes from this early misunderstanding. For a while the settlers were thinking that a gift, once given, is possessed, the indians followed another model: that the ” gift must move”.

    There are, in this story, two different understandings of property, but also two different visions of collective association and ethics, and the power that comes from them. There are, in other words, two conceptions of the Good. One gave rise to the capitalist market economy. Goods are for possession, for keeping. The other, prevalent in most tribal and indigenous societies, sees most (but not all) possessions as part of a common flow. The proper means of association together is through the giving of gifts.

    The gift exchange is central to most creative communities. Scientific communities require a spirit of free exchange of ideas for the community as a whole to flourish. When one person seeks to possess things, the spirit is spoiled.

    Dialogue is properly a gift relationship as well. When we speak together in a dialogue, we are speaking in a way that seeks to contribute one to the other. A conversation where the people are essentially trying to extract something form others moves aways from dialogue.

    In this sense, the gift dimension redfines the way power moves in a dialogue as well. Dialogue is a discipline for developing shared meaning among disparate groups of people. But I believe that at its core, dialogue accomplishes something else: It can produce a deep shift in our understanding of the nature of power. – William Isaacs »

    Thu, Oct 14, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: Dialogue
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