In Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together, author William Isaacs pens the following:
“Dialogue… is a conversation with a center, not sides. It is a way of taking the energy of our differences and channeling it toward something that has never been created before. It lifts us out of polarization and into a greater common sense, and is thereby a means for accessing the intelligence and coordinated power of groups of people.
The roots of the word ‘dialogue’ come from the Greek words ‘dia’ and ‘logos.’ Dia means ‘through’; logos translates to ‘word’ or ‘meaning.’ In essence, a dialogue is a flow of meaning. But it is more than this, too. In the most ancient meaning of the word, logos meant ‘to gather together,’ and suggested an intimate awareness of the relationships among things in the natural world. In that sense, logos may be best rendered in English as ‘relationship’…
To take it one step further, dialogue is a conversation in which people think together in relationship. Thinking together implies that you no longer take your own position as final. You relax your grip on certainty and listen to possibilities that result simply from being in relationship with others…
To listen respectfully to others, to cultivate and speak your own voice, to suspend your opinions about others — these bring out the intelligence that lives at the very center of ourselves — the intelligence that exists when we are alert of possibilities around us and thinking freshly…”
It is, no less, my absolute privilege to be the author of the Intramuralist. Eleven years ago, I never imagined the thousands who would share in this journey… the many who would consider, contemplate, read, react… agree, disagree… encourage, inform, add to the conversation.
From day one, we’ve attempted to adhere to our mantra as a “respectful dialogue of current events,” striving relentlessly, no matter how inconsistent that societal aim may be.
Remember that “dialogue” means we cede the sides. We think together and no longer take our own position as final. We never forget relationship.
I can thus think of no better manifestation of this practice than our annual Guest Writer Series. For the 11th consecutive year, it is time to hear here from someone other than me.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks, you will hear from a dozen different people — people I admire, respect, and enjoy learning from. They are diverse in age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and more. They come from all corners of the country. You will hear from two students in college and one recent graduate. You will hear from an articulate set of grandparents. The collective group will talk about all sorts of stuff…
They will talk about maturity and vaccination.
They will talk about anger and pride.
They will talk about losing weight.
They will discuss the 2020 Presidential election.
They will vocalize both support and skepticism for climate change.
They will examine topics both big and small, from plaguing issues to practical pursuits.
But they each are committed to discuss respectfully.
Do I agree with every angle to be posted?
Of course not. But agreement is secondary to relationship. We learn much when we are willing to enter into relationship with persons who share varied perspective. We learn much when we are willing to engage in respectful dialogue.
So while I embrace my annual, much appreciated respite, I encourage you to engage with this year’s guest writers; they are expressive and articulate; they’ve got some fascinating points to consider. Feel free to agree. Disagree. Ask them questions. But most of all, let’s dialogue.
Guest writer #1 kicks us off on Sunday, starting with…
“Socialism Makes a Comeback.”
Time to listen well.