Monday, June 04, 2012

Conversation versus Tyranny

At a time when I was welcomed to interfaith groups and active in that dialogue (both in Boston and in Los Angeles), there was a basic ground rule to which all participants agreed: we weren't there to convert other people.  We gathered in a spirit of sharing information and ideas.

It's a good precept to borrow in discussing civil matters, where there may be disagreement; it is even a way to address controversial topics.  Assume you're not going to resolve the problem today; that today you're going to look at something from different angles; that nobody is there to conquer.  When people do change their minds or discover a solution they hadn't thought of previously, it's a decision they make themselves.  And it does happen. 

A community that is unable to take such an approach -- that cannot practice dialogue -- is unable to practice democracy.  This will even undermine a republican state, rendering our elections and political debate senseless.  The outcome will be tyranny.


Ji Hyang said...

Absolutely. Reminds me of the guiding principles of the Public Conversations Project...

Kelly said...

Good post Algernon.