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Dialogue #22

Style (Pi)

Metaphors: Grace / Adorning / Embellishment

Social A dialogue may succeed in matters of lesser importance by gracefully respecting the sensitivities of those concerned. Fundamental or controversial issues cannot however be resolved by cultivating an appropriate image in this way.


1. When the dialogue is in a subordinate role, the gracefulness of self-reliance leads to greater success than the surreptitious acceptance of assistance. (Resulting in: Inaction).

2. The dialogue risks deluding itself if it attaches greater importance to the form of its actions than to their substance. (Resulting in: Conservation).

3. The gracious style of the dialogue may prove so enchanting to all concerned that the vigilance necessary for the success of its action is lost. (Resulting in: Support).

4. The dialogue may find that more significant relationships are possible by acting simply than by depending on the trappings associated with a gracious mode of response. (Resulting in: Normative constraint).

5. Once the dialogue has chosen to abandon dependence on a gracious mode of action, it will at first be embarrassed when attempting to relate to those of superior values who only attach significance to the substantive contributions it has to make (Resulting in: Community).

6. In the final stage of the dialogue's development, the form of its action no longer disguises the substance but rather expresses its value to the full. (Resulting in: Decline).

Transformation sequence Excessive emphasis on style leads to deterioration (Resulting in: Deterioration).

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Earlier version in 2nd edition of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986).

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