8th August 2006
Guidelines for Sustainable Dialogue
- / -
What might it take to sustain the energy, significance and transformational
processes of a group conversation. The following possible guidelines envisage
a group in which each participant can respond in a variety of modes --
ine some of which they may be especially adept. The consequence is that
each corrects limitations imposed by other modes in order to enhanced the
transformative dynamics of the dialogue.
One caqn move all the people some of the time and some of the people all
the time, but it is not possible to fool all the people all the time.
One can avoid all the guidelines some of the time and some of the guidelines
all the time, but it is not possible to avoid all the guidelines all the
keep ball/point moving
- dropping ball / quenching
Guideline #1: Humour: Used by the participant to express
unexpected dimensions and connections, inhibiting any tendency to pontofication
and entrapment in patterns.
Counter-indications: Inappropriate timing
inhibiting the completion of other significant processes especially as
a trivial distraction.
Guideline #2: Self-deprecation: Used by the participant
to undermine any peception of pomposity, occupationb of the moral high
ground, or claims to special insight.
Counter-indications: Possibility of being
interpreted as false modesty, especially when the participant's insight
Guideline #3: Reframing: Use by the participant, with
the aid of other modes, to offer an alternatrive perspective on the dialogue,
especially to render it more integrative, more encompassing, or more
Counter-indications: Where such reframing
may be perceived as one-upmanship or an effort to create a context that
unnecessarily devalues thecurrent one and demeans its proponenents.
Guideline #4: Counterpoint: Used by the participant to
provide a blancing contrary perspective to one that is dominating the discussion
and precluding recognition of a diversity of views.
Counter-indications: Where a counterpoint
may be perceived primarily as aggressive or negative, persponal positioning,
and thereby blocking further dialogue, notably when failing to offer
a way forward.
Guideline #5: Aesthetic: Used by a participant, possibly
with visuiql or other aids, to configure the dialogue and the participants
into a pattern of contrasting themes and proponenents, thus providing a
sense of context for some elements being emphasized at the expense of others.
Counter-indications: Where the aesthetic
emphasios may be perceived as deliberately used as a means of devqaluing
individual themes and relativizing them within a larger context -- to
the point of trivializing them as details
Guideline #6: Timeliness: Used by a participant tpo emphasize
a sense of immediatre urgency in relation to a context of timelessness
-- and the appropriateness of timing. Urgency in the sense of the call
to respond to the challenge and potential of the present moment and timelessness
in the sense of the sweep of history with there always being another day.
Counter-indications: Where introducing either
extreme may be perceived as a manipulative device to focibly modify the
natural pace and flow of the dialogue.
Guideline #7: Momentousness: Used by a participant to
focus on the potential significance of this particular dialogue at this
moment in time, whether for the participants or for those who may be affected
by its outcome.
Counter-indications: Where this may be mistakenly
perceived as attraching greater importance to the gathering than is warranted,
or than is healthy for the participants, especially where this distracts
from processes that might actually engender greater significance
Guideline #8: Poignancy: Used by a participant to enhance
the affective sense of the role of the gathering, constraqined as it is
by time and circumstances, echoing painful and chaqllenging preoccupations
of other places and times
Counter-indications: Where this may be perceived
as a device used purely for effect with little potential for increasing
the depeth and richness of the dialogue -- or enhancing its tone. ***
Guideline #9: Incompletion: Used by a participant to
inhibit premature closure and to maintain a sense of openness to insight
yet to be engendered or recognized for their signifiance.
Counter-indications: Where closure on a theme
may be felt to be necessary to enable the dialogue to move on -- and
where openness may create vulnerability to unfrutiful distraction.
Guideline #10: Honour: Used by a participant to give
credit where credit is due and to express respect for that which has contributed
to present understanding and opportuntity
Counter-indications: Where this may be perceived
as focusing on the past and its exemplars as a means of avoiding the
chqallenges of of the fguture and those who may engender it.
Guideline #11: Care: Used by a participant to respond
to those who are unfruitfully marginalized by the dialogue process, especially
where this is a result of deliberate or inadvertent neglect that may be
perceived as woundi9ng. Notably used as a means of introduci9ng the negelected
perspective as fruitful variety or a vaqluable triangulation between other
Counter-indications: Where this response
is deliberately evoked in the cultivaton of victimhood and an unwillingness
to rise to the challenges and learnings of interaction.
Guideline #12: Withholding: Used by a participant where
more may bed achieved by allowing the dialogue to flow rather by intervening
in any particular way.
Counter-indications: Where this is done for
effect or where this is effectively a means of avoiding being placed
at a disadvantage from which the dialogue as a whole might otherwise
Guideline #13: Shock: Used by a participant to provoke
the emergence of an alternative perspective on a pattern of dialogue whose
energy is declinging or dissipating.
Counter-indications: Where tis may be pereceived
as undertaken primarily for effect and without any real sense of viable
Guideline #14: Indication:
Guideline #15: Insignificance:
Guideline #16: ***:
Guidelines as a set of complementaries
- mysterious gate
- unnmaed way
- avoid distraction
- going/being home
- present focused
- we are our own metaphor
Self-referential dynamic of self-identity
12 animals each with a way of transforming a communication
sustaining pattern of tgensions
variety / focus -- nourishment -- opening and closing
test for external dialogue
what modes is itr useful to shift between
Bakhrian: Dialogical Imagination
- metaphor / dialogue
- future conversation