What keeps us from responding

As you read what I am about to say, please keep in mind the following question.

Here is roughly how David Bohm envisioned his ‘dialogue’: People sitting in a circle and taking turns talking, about no specific theme, with no specific aim, everyone observing their own thoughts and emotions. This is repeated in regular intervals, and continues over one to several years. Silly? Boring? Well, Bohm (a clever man – a creative physicist, a protegé of Einstein) claimed that the dialogue was necessary for resolving the contemporary issues. My question is – Why?

Deepak Chopra introduces the answer that I am about to propose by telling the following story.

In India, the people who train elephants tie the elephant’s leg to a small branch while the animal is still very small. Later, when the elephant has grown, the same techniqe will keep him in place. He is strong enough to take out a whole tree with a single swing of his leg. But somewhere in his mind it is written that he cannot take out that small branch. And he cannot!

While working on this most interesting aspect of our larger communication issue, I understood how it was possible that the Germans during the WW2 did not know about the concentration camps. It is not just that the Nazis were so successful in hiding them from the people. The people were also successful in hiding them from themselves!

It is for this reason that we continue to respond to contemporary contingencies by  thinking in the same way as we did when we created them.

Bohm envisioned the dialogue as a remedy that would help us become aware of that and change.

ZG2008This remedy, however, may be too weak for the problem. So last year when we staged the key point dialog in Zagreb (Building the Future of Europe Together – The Cultural Revival Dialog Zagreb 2008), we decided to modify Bohm’s original dialogue by placing it into a high-energy field, a sort of a cyclotrone. Josh Bacigalupi compared this enhancement with the therapy techniqe called ‘intervention.’

We are planning a key point dialog in the Palo Alto area (in Hidden Villa) on May 22, 2010.

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2 responses to “What keeps us from responding

  1. I’m interested in understanding more about Dialogs and how they come about and how to participate. How do they differ from a conversation.

    Also, what brings about a high-energy field, or cyclotrone, as you describe above? That is fascinating as well!

    In the spring of 2004, I participated in several 10-12 person group conversations in Austin, Texas. The meetings were unstructured and free flowing and were termed “Dialogs” (as described by Bohm) by sevreral of the people in attendence. The meetings lacked an agenda and the topic of conversation drifted quite a bit. They didn’t feel any different than sitting around talking to me. What was missing? Was anything missing?

    • David Bohm’s book ‘On Dialogue’ is an excellent source. Bohm had a key insight – that we are involved in a paradox (incoherent thinking) while treating it as a problem (any of the ‘global issues’). The remedy Bohm proosed is similar to ‘mindfulness’ that the Buddhists talk about – by observing (‘propriocepting’) one’s reactions without judging, the mind, whose nature is to advance toward coherence, naturally corrects itself.

      In the Key Point Dialog we staged in Zagreb in 2008 the Bohmian circle was placed between the four historical people placed symbolically as four walls and providing context, and Shent Zhen Qigong, placed symbolically into the middle. That is the cyclogrone. A strong field is created by the difference between the experience of Sheng Zhen Qigong (as reported by the people who practice) and what we as culture still tend to believe (for ex. that our ‘scientific’ understanding of life is accurate and complete). As always in such circumstances, we would, at least symbolically or inwardly, get up and leave, but we cannot – the ‘four walls’, and the very ethics of the dialogue, are compelling us to stay in the high-energy field and propriocept. Those ‘four walls’ are keeping us in place by showing that our objection that what we are witnessing is ‘not scientific’ is simply not true. On the contrary – they are showing us that the objections we have to what we are witnessing are no longer scientific and no longer tenable.

      It seems that the dialogue you have experienced lacked a deeper understanding of Bohm’s method and intention. But regardless, I believe that the dialogue as Bohm envisioned it simply lacks qi. Our modification undertakes to correct that.

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