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.

2 comments:

Ji Hyang said...

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

Kelly said...

Good post Algernon.