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On Dialogue On Dialogue by David Bohm
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On Dialogue Quotes Showing 1-13 of 13
“individual thought is mostly the result of collective thought and of interaction with other people. The language is entirely collective, and most of the thoughts in it are. Everybody does his own thing to those thoughts – he makes a contribution. But very few change them very much.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“culture – the collectively shared meaning”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“On the whole, you could say that if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious. Likewise, if you are trying to avoid something unpleasant inside of yourself, that is also not being serious. A great deal of our whole life is not serious. And society teaches you that. It teaches you not to be very serious – that there are all sorts of incoherent things, and there is nothing that can be done about it, and that you will only stir yourself up uselessly by being serious. But in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not – not in the way I’m using the word. There is a story about Freud when he had cancer of the mouth. Somebody came up to him and wanted to talk to him about a point in psychology. The person said, “Perhaps I’d better not talk to you, because you’ve got this cancer which is very serious. You may not want to talk about this.” Freud’s answer was, “This cancer may be fatal, but it’s not serious.” And actually, of course, it was just a lot of cells growing. I think a great deal of what goes on in society could be described that way – that it may well be fatal, but it’s not serious.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“In the dialogue people should talk directly to one another, one to one, across the circle. Then the time would come, if we got to know each other a bit and could trust each other, when you could speak very directly to the whole group, or to anybody in it.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“You may not even have known that you had an assumption. It was only because he came up with the opposite one that you find out that you have one. You may uncover other assumptions, but we are all suspending them and looking at them all, seeing what they mean.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“if there is listening through a “listener,” then we are not listening.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“When it is found (as generally happens) that what is observed is only similar to what he had in mind and not identical, then from a consideration of the similarities and the differences he gets a new idea which is in turn tested. And so it goes, with the continual emergence of something new that is common to the thought of scientists and what is observed in nature.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“If we think, for example, that thought is coming from me individually, this will affect how thought works. So we have to look at both content and structure. We have the sense that we “know” all sorts of things. But we could say that perhaps it is not “we,” but knowledge itself which knows all sorts of things. The suggestion is that knowledge – which is thought – is moving autonomously: it passes from one person to another. There is a whole pool of knowledge for the whole human race, like different computers that share a pool of knowledge. This pool of thought has been developing for many thousands of years, and it is full of all sorts of content. This knowledge, or thought, knows all of that content, but it doesn’t know what it is doing. This knowledge knows itself wrongly: it knows itself as doing nothing. It therefore says, “I am not responsible for any of these problems. I’m just here for you to use.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do, because they understood each other so well. Then they could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“The point is that we have all sorts of assumptions, not only about politics or economics or religion, but also about what we think an individual should do, or what life is all about, and so forth.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“The way we start a dialogue group is usually by talking about dialogue – talking it over, discussing why we’re doing it, what it means, and so forth. I don’t think it is wise to start a group before people have gone into all that, at least somewhat. You can, but then you’ll have to trust that the group will continue, and that these questions will come out later. So if you are thinking of meeting in a group, one thing which I suggest is to have a discussion or a seminar about dialogue for a while, and those who are interested can then go on to have the dialogue. And you mustn’t worry too much whether you are or are not having dialogue – that’s one of the blocks. It may be mixed.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“If we all had to do a job together, we would likely find that each one of us would have different opinions and assumptions, and thus we would find it hard to do the job. The temperature could go way up.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue
“Contrast this with the word “discussion,” which has the same root as “percussion” and “concussion.” It really means to break things up. It emphasizes the idea of analysis, where there may be many points of view, and where everybody is presenting a different one – analyzing and breaking up. That obviously has its value, but it is limited, and it will not get us very far beyond our various points of view. Discussion is almost like a ping-pong game, where people are batting the ideas back and forth and the object of the game is to win or to get points for yourself. Possibly you will take up somebody else’s ideas to back up your own – you may agree with some and disagree with others – but the basic point is to win the game. That’s very frequently the case in a discussion.”
David Bohm, On Dialogue