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Question about the growth of D&D
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Karlita

Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:46 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D Reply with quote??? ???

The following discussion occured on NCDD's main discussion list, and was initiated by Sandy Heierbacher on March 15, 2004.

To subscribe to this discussion list, go to www.edgateway.net/ncdd. Email if you need help subscribing. Enjoy!


Sandy Heierbacher:

Hi, folks. I have an important question to pose to the list.

My friend and mentor, Frances Moore Lappe (author of Diet for a Small Planet, Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, etc.) is publishing a new edition of The Quickening of America. Much-used in college classrooms, the book describes experiments in practical democratic problem solving and discusses the one-on-one skills and the skills for use in group settings (including public dialogue) that are essential elements in building a "culture of democracy."

Anyway, Frankie asked me how I would measure/describe the growth of interest in and use of dialogic and deliberative methodologies both inside and outside official political channels. I feel that my answer to this question would be skewed since NCDD has been acting pretty much as a magnet for people/groups involved in these processes.

I think the growth of interest in and use of D&D processes is growing significantly, but what do you folks think?

What is it like in your communities? Are citizens more interested in D&D processes? How much has the use of these processes increased in your communities?

Is there any concrete data available that shows the growth of D&D processes? Perhaps large organizations like Study Circles and NIF have data that at least shows the growth of those processes.

I look forward to hearing what some of you think about this important question.

Sandy

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Nancy Peden:

Sandy,

I've been struggling with how to help reflect on your question. All I can say, from personal experience, is that getting people, in my case mostly adult women, to take on anything that requires cognitive learning and complexity can be tough and generally what gets achieved is not the intended outcome. Like democracy, I have found trying to initiate cooperative inquiries to be messy but rich in learning.

What often gets me down is how, still, many folks really want a "talking head" or other authority figure to lead rather than collaborate co creatively. Kerry for President rather than Dean or Kucinich or Nader is a perfect example and it seems the consensus is that we had better go this way or we have no chance against the kind or authoritarian patriarchy provided by Bush and Co.

I wish I could supply something up beat, but right now this is what arises for me. Even the one effort that I work with that seems effective is highly dependent on a charismatic leader.

Nancy Peden

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T'aiya Shiner:

Sorry I missed Sandy's question - but the response below inspired my own thoughts. See below. T'aiya Shiner

NCDD Discussion - Nancy Peden wrote:

"Sandy,

I've been struggling with how to help reflect on your question. All I can say, from personal experience, is that getting people, in my case mostly adult women, to take on anything that requires cognitive learning and complexity can be tough and generally what gets achieved is not the intended outcome. Like democracy, I have found trying to initiate cooperative inquiries to be messy but rich in learning.

What often gets me down is how, still, many folks really want a "talking head" or other authority figure to lead rather than collaborate co creatively. Kerry for President rather than Dean or Kucinich or Nader is a perfect example and it seems the consensus is that we had better go this way or we have no chance against the kind or authoritarian patriarchy provided by Bush and Co.

I think the fact that Dean and Kucinich were even visible is testament to the opportunity for growth in a more engaging public dialogue.

I wish I could supply something up beat, but right now this is what arises for me. Even the one effort that I work with that seems effective is highly dependent on a charismatic leader."


The challenge is that, dialogue is built upon trust and hope which is counter to most social experiences of stimuli. It may be naive for us to want "others" to try new ways of thinking if they haven't had a positive "collaborative" experience. Collaboration takes education and a choice to - at this time - hold an uncommon perspective and a desire to look with hope at the world we want to create vs. the "world" we - currently - are fighting against.

T'aiya Shiner

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:52 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Rogier A. Gregoire:

I don't know where to start but I might as well revive the conversation begun some months ago concerning the definition of dialogue as held by many members of this organization. I asserted then as I do now that there is a distinct difference held by those that embrace what is known as generative dialogue (Bohmian Dialogue) and the various forms of conversation and debate that goes unquestioned or examined as dialogue by everyone else. Generative dialogue, which is mostly closely related to the work of David Bohm and the profound influence of Krishnamurti is a process aimed at the expansion of individual and collective consciousness; a search for broader and deeper understanding. It is not an effort towards consensus, mediation, problem resolution or community building in the political sense of community. All of these things might fall out of the dialogue process and even contribute to the refinement of other objectives but in and of itself is simply an effort to gain a greater understanding. I myself associate it with holism and a continuing effort at inclusion on a universal scale.

Many of my colleagues at NCDD affix prefixes and suffixes to dialogue to make a distinction for their own particular interest or intent. I assert that that act no longer constitutes a dialogue but something else. Now why do I make such elaborate claims and seemingly arbitrary distinctions? Because the confusion that comes from the use of dialogue to define efforts and processes that are anything but dialogue even when their objectives are exemplary. It is also a Tower of Babel phenomenon in which the original purpose of dialogue gets diluted in the confusion of disparate definitions.

Pivotal to Bohmian Dialogue is the notion of inquiry and lynch pin of critical philosophy in that it affords the participant an opportunity to question the assumptions of others as well as their own assumptions. To look deeper into the issues that seem to separate and alienate us from one another - to follow the inferences we make from our assumptions to the flawed conclusions that prop up cultural alienation and individual bias.

Dialogue will certainly not determine the moral high ground or resolve judicial dilemmas of good and bad as much as we would like to these results. That, in part, may be why we are uncomfortable with generative dialogue, it has no easy end point or linear result that we can tie to our efforts. It is seldom tolerant of cause and effect influences that modernity and the industrial mindset holds as critical to any effort. My clients often are distrustful of achieving "higher consciousness" or anything of the sort because it is so ineffable an objective. It can't be measure by any external criteria. It is the state of mind and soul of the individual which is altered and in certain dialogues of considerable duration, there is a sense of collective transformation which is even more illusive.

Now all of this might seem a bit esoteric to other members but I tie the disaffection of many so called dialogues of different stripes to unintended and often manufactured expectations. We want a solution, a cure for our afflictions, and when we don't get it we blame the ineffectiveness of the process we embraced. Deliberate, mediate, seek consensus, and even continue to seek racial and cultural harmony and more coherent communities but use dialogue to expand our collective and individual consciousness - to understand at a higher level.

Out beyond ideas of Wrong Doing and Right Doing
There is a field
I will meet you There

When the soul lies down in that grass
Ideas, language, even the phrase
Each Other
Doesn't make any sense

Jelaluddin Rumi

Rogier Gregoire

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Ray Seigfried:

My dear friend Rogier,
It is so very nice to read your statements about dialogue. I agree whole heartily. Dialogue does have a wide range of definitions and practice. So much so that at times I wonder if it is yet another flavor of the month. Another technique and tool like "6 sigma" that people can sell and try to make money over. Bohmian dialogue has a context one that Lee Nichol shared with those who attended his 3 day session from our first conference. It is all of the process that you stated with a self-disciplined towards what Bohm called, "proprioception", or self awareness without a self to be aware. The relationship and work of both Bohm and Krishnamurti combined are synergically in their meaning and can be understood at a higher level of creativity. Not to incorporate Bohm in this conference and this group in general would reduce the overall experience and learning. It is my hope that Bohm dialogue is accepted as fundamental to this group and is expressed through the program of our conference this year.

Your friend, Ray Seigfried

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Rogier A. Gregoire:

Thank you Ray, for your generous support of the thesis. It would help to hear from others, particularly those who hold to the less specific definition of Dialogue.

Rogier Gregoire

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Karlita

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Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:55 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Scott C. Hammond:

Rogier and Ray,

Your interesting ideas warrant a longer response that I have time to give right now. But I want to see this discussion continue. Perhaps we are at a point where the feminist movement was about ten years ago; there are now many different feminisms. Some have useful contradictions; some overlap. Most social movements (and I think dialogue is a social movement) have raging conflicts over orthodoxy.

A few years back I helped organize a dialogue on dialogues in Sundance, UT. Many of the "big names" attended. It has come to be known as the "dialogue from hell" largely because each expert was so vested in their model that they could not do what I think is a dialogue basic..."suspend." Rogier, your words more accurately describe what I think dialogue is and should be than I could write myself...but I differ with you on this. We need to make room for local definitions that arise from local cultural experience. Not everyone has or will read Bohn. Not everyone can. But everyone can be involved in dialogue.

Thanks for a great set of ideas...

scott hammond

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Ray Seigfried:


Scott,
Okay, not everyone will read Bohm I understand but, to talk about "dialogue" without an understanding of Bohm's work for me is like talking about relativity without Einstein. What Bohm is saying is not just a bunch of cool ideas but a process to be experienced, a framework to live by. A pool of creativity, new meaning and real fellowship. Rogier is correct that Bohmian dialogue will not "solve your problem" but perhaps it provides the foundation from which new insights of creativity emerge about problems or whatever it is you are confronting. This may not make sense to you because without the context from which Bohm nestled dialogue in you may not understand. Some knowledge of his implicit order and wholeness will help. Please do not misrepresent me I am not against other concepts of dialogue that people have. I just believe it is important to recognize Bohm's contribution and his work. Thanks.

Ray

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:57 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

John Abbe:

At 1:13 PM -0500 on 3/19/04, NCDD Discussion - Ray Seigfried typed:
‚?€?Okay, not everyone will read Bohm I understand but, to talk about "dialogue" without an understanding of Bohm's work for me is like talking about relativity without Einstein. What Bohm is saying is not just a bunch of cool ideas but a process to be experienced, a framework to live by. A pool of creativity, new meaning and real fellowship. Rogier is correct that Bohmian dialogue will not "solve your problem" but perhaps it provides the foundation from which new insights of creativity emerge about problems or whatever it is you are confronting. This may not make sense to you because without the context from which Bohm nestled dialogue in you may not understand. Some knowledge of his implicit order and wholeness will help. Please do not miss represent me I am not against other concepts of dialogue that people have. I just believe it is important to recognize Bohm's contribution and his work. Thanks."

I agree that there is a valuable distinction to be made about dialogue. I'm not really settled on terminology, but for now let's go on calling dialogue in which the main focus is understanding (through e.g. inquiry, awareness of assumptions, etc.) "generative dialogue".

I would also agree that Bohm (& Krishnamurti) did a pretty good job of having, and describing, generative dialogue.

And, I think we're missing the point if we attach generative dialogue exclusively to anyone. Any generative dialogue has its not-so-generative periods. Some people read Bohm, or even attend a (generative) Bohmian Dialogue group, and go start their own not-so-generative "Bohmian" dialogue. Other people, who have never heard of Bohm or Krishnamurti (or "dialogue" as something other than what's in the dictionary!) call attention to things that lead them to have conversations that are what anyone would call generative dialogue.

What do we attend to that contributes to generative dialogue? What kinds of explicit and implicit learning experiences help one to become aware of and call attention to these things effectively? These are the questions that interest me most.

The "who" part (Bohm, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Jesus, Buddha, the Wizard of Oz, Lloyd Dobler, others) in the answers to these questions is of secondary interest to me.

Life,
John
--
"Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation." --Elton Trueblood

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William Potapchuk:

Greetings. I have been tracking the dialogue on dialogue (and the original question on growth of D&D) with interest and am struck by the lack of discussion of the growth/boundaries of deliberation . . . any thoughts? . . . does it relate to the question of when does (Bohmian) dialogue end?

best . . . bill

Bill Potapchuk
Community Building Institute

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:59 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Rogier A. Gregoire:

Dear Bill
Just to keep things in order do you have a definition or description of deliberation that we can all hang our hats on? Do you see it as a particular type of conversation? Is there a relationship to dialogue or some ways in which it differs from dialogue?

Thanks

Rogier

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Sandy Heierbacher:

Hi, folks. I'm glad to see this rich conversation occurring on the NCDD discussion list.

To answer Rogier's question about a definition/description of deliberation...

At the top of the left menu bar on just about every page of the new NCDD site is a link to a page that quotes leaders in the D&D community talking about what dialogue and deliberation are. These quotes are followed by a short piece that I wrote on the relationship between dialogue and deliberation. I agree with Bill Potapchuk that effective dialogue is often a necessary prerequisite for effective deliberation, but I'm sure some of you might disagree (I'd love to see some discussion about that on this list).

That page is at www.thataway.org/resources/understand/what.html if any of you would like to check it out.

I'd write more, but I'm in the midst of report-writing and grant-writing craziness.

Sandy

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William Potapchuk:

Roger:

While there at least as many definitions and variations of "deliberation" as there are of dialogue, I think the core of deliberation is choice making . . . identifying choices, evaluating/assessing choices, creating new choices, etc . . . leading to choice making . . .

I think in many cases, effective dialogue is a necessary prerequisite for effective deliberation . . .

there seemed to be a theme in the thread on dialogue that

there has been growth in dialogue . . . but let's be careful what we call dialogue . . . and if we can define "good" dialogue . . we should be careful that we are not just talking about a growth in "less than good/bad" dialogue . . .

does a similar analysis hold for deliberation?

bill

Bill Potapchuk
Community Building Institute

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:00 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Rogier A. Gregoire:

Response to Scott Hammond

I don't believe everyone can of would be willing to engage in Dialogue, and not because of any prohibition or sense of orthodoxy. The inhibition lies within them and therefore is not their intention or a way to experience their expectations. Everything looks like a nail when all you have is a hammer. It is not orthodoxy to call a thing what it is. Dialogue has a tradition and purpose that goes back thousands of years and is ubiquitous to all human beings, everywhere.

Perhaps the problem with the Sundance experience was not in suspending judgment but in a lack of inquiry that is essential to "suspense" as you put it. We are a culture for which inquiry is not only frowned upon but denigrated as an inappropriate social behavior.

Rogier Gregoire

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Scott C. Hammond:

Amen. And thanks to Bohm. Could not agree more.

My "yeah, but" is this...

There are many traditions that include Polynesian tribal customs and Quaker Clearness Committees that did dialogue before dialogue was cool. I don't want to be the one to tell them that they are not doing dialogue because they can't explain what they do in Bohmian terms.

scott

p.s.

Thanks for a great dialogue on dialogue. Perhaps we ought to find a space to continue this in Colorado in the fall?

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:01 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Jim Durkin:

TO: Rogier et alia,

You started your March 18, 2004 posting about Bohmian dialog by saying: "I don't know where to start." Toward a creative continuation of your dialog I pose the counter question: "When does Bohmian Dialog end?"

You pay much attention to clarifying the "distinct difference" between what this dialog is and what it is not, even when it is given that name. Dialog IS...an expansion of individual and collective consciousness: a search for deeper understanding..." Dialog is NOT...an effort toward consensus, mediation problem resolution, or community." You continue: "I myself associate it with holism and a continuing effort at inclusion on a universal scale."

My question is: Thus engendered, how long does dialog endure? You say: dialog...has no easy end point or linear result that we can tie to our own efforts." Does "inclusion on a universal scale" imply that true dialog has no boundaries and that once an individual enters into the circle of dialog, they assume residence eternally within an infinite space? Does participation in dialog somehow transcend the boundaries of our individual and collective death?

You tell us that inquiry is the pivotal lynch pin of dialog because it "affords the participant the opportunity to question the assumptions of others as well as our own assumptions." And thereby we are empowered to look deeper into the issues that separate and alienate us from one another-to follow the inferences we make from our assumptions to the flawed conclusions that prop up cultural alienation and individual bias."

My question is: Will such universal unbounded inquiry dissolve all the boundaries between us?

I too am personally committed to Collaborative Inquiry which includes questioning the validity of our assumptions. But I believe that this dialog must be situated within boundaries defined by the dialog group itself. I believe that such boundaries will make it possible to determine when the dialog has come to an end. I believe that when a dialog group has completed its inquiry task to its critical satisfaction and can proclaim across their boundary that: "We know this to be true!" that they have arrived at a point that is a hair's breadth away from skilled action. It is my assumption that in this world that situated skilled action takes primacy over understanding, over that boundaryless understanding that endlessly expands into broader, deeper understanding. Life is too short for dialog without end.

In the spirit of dialog, I hope I have compassionately questioned the assumptions of dialog itself.

Jim Durkin, PhD
Collaboration Laboratories
Kensington (Berkeley), CA

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Last edited by Karlita on Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:01 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Rogier A. Gregoire:

Dear Jim
I am grateful to you for the quality of your inquiry and the sincerity of your questions but some of them are unanswerable while others are beyond my personal ken. I am not personally conversant with eternity or how things begin or end. Like you I am caught between the twin horrors of birth and death, trying to remain conscious. But your questions demand an answer from me and your request is so affectionate that I can't resist.

Here goes:

I cannot speak for everyone that has engaged dialogue and can only say what is true for me, however, as to the notion of how long a dialogue can endure is up to the participants. Since dialogue is a collective event driven by individual effort what begin within each participant can continue as long as the individual can engage the process. But that is sidestepping the larger issue that you raise about life and death and dialogue. (I don't know why end points are so fascinating.)

To ask if dialogue has an endpoint or an effect for which it is the cause is to embrace completely linear reasoning. That might not be useful or even answerable but from the perspective you seem to be coming from every beginning must have an end. I am not about to unravel that Gordian knot for you. In fact let's take the inverse of your question. If it didn't begin how can it end and still exist? In your frame existence is bound by beginning and ending. Yet, universe is a tricky thing, it exists but we don't know about its beginning and can only speculate about its ending. It is all a construction convenient to linear cosmology based on our own improbable experience. I warned you that some questions are not answerable.

Yet I think that you are asking a more local question than one about universe. You only use the term infinity to take things to absurdity. Locally, things begin and end. Dialogues are not infinite events unless one has the capacity to make them so - remember the game is consciousness.

Are there boundaries between us? There are limits to what one can know, but none as to what one can be. As long as there is a known and a knower they are eternally separated one from the other, and as long as they are separated there are at least two things. But when we know a thing so well as to become it there is no longer dialectic - duality disappears and we exist in a unary (universe). Love can be like that. When we love one another such that we are one then we transcend any notion of "us" or "we". I suspect and trust that when I have that level of love for universe I will become universe. If you start from the point of view that these boundaries are of our own construction intended to sustain our egos and sense of isolation then our efforts are not to become one but to experience our selves as one. (But this is of no use to either of us at this point in the conversation.)

"...a hair's breathe away from skilled action." When you are universe what action is required - skilled or not? What would be the subject and what would be the predicate in that syllogism? But there is a more practical and useful issue bound in your question. Another truism about dialogue is that it is not a precursor to any action either as intent or expectation and as such it theoretically can go on forever as long as we are willing to play the consciousness game. (Remember, much of the dissatisfaction with dialogue comes from unmet ambitions and unresolved dilemmas.)

Our differences transcend issues of limited and unlimited dialogue. I am trying to unravel my assumptions about who I am by playing the inquiry game of looking deeper into the notions that support my limited sense of identity. By experience, I know that I am not limited to this body or mind but that may not be of any use to you at all.

So here we are again, we are playing the consciousness game again and the playing field is experience. (But that may be of no use to you at this point in the conversation.)

Rogier Gregoire

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:04 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Scott C. Hammond:

Jim...

This is an off line question triggered by your profound questions about defining dialogue.

I think there is a need for the dialogue community...practitioners and academics...to discuss these issues in a dialogue. Will you be coming to Colorado for the NADD meetings? Shall we propose something like this to be a part of the program? (I'm part of a very big planning committee).

scott hammond, ph.d.

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Rogier A. Gregoire:

Dear Scott
There is something enervating and wonderful about this thread on dialogue without boundaries. I want to suggest a position which is closer to your point of view and suggested by your comments.

The guidelines that are often associated with Bohmian Dialogue are very useful but the important notion that everything hangs on is the search for wisdom, an effort to expand our own consciousness and those we are engaged with. I kept saying that action, or mediation, or resolution, or any number of action oriented and results driven expectations should not be associated with the practice of Dialogue.

So forget the methodology if another seems more useful and proves effective, but do not abandon the search for greater understanding - that is the pivotal goal and purpose of Dialogue. Prayer (Martin Buber "I, Thou") is a different set of guidelines and the conversation is with God but this purpose makes it, in a sense, a dialogue.

We never include in dialogue an embrace of Love "agape" a sense of infinite and irrevocable connections with everything (Holo) but it is for me the object of my inquiry.

So forget the protocols. Abandon orthodoxy, keep your eyes on the prize.

Rogier Gregoire

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:05 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Ray Seigfried:

Rogier,

My I suggest that the search is more than for wisdom but for truth. Bohm was always concerned with providing a process for society to explore and challenge prevailing points of view for the purpose of discovering truth. It is a very important point particularly in today's society when we have a president whose administration is concerned with twisting facts for political correctness. Collective dialogue, sharing in the development of a shared common content is critical in nurturing a coherent culture. It is no secret that America is divided on almost every issue that exist in politics today. Are we to continue this 50% for 50% against mentality? Is there not some other alternative? I suggest that Bohm has presented a possible alternative in his implicate order and theory of wholeness. To live this, to understand this one needs to engage with others in dialogue. To experience a humanity of interaction and at the same time experience ones own thing process may be a critical part of dialogue. Together this special process co-creates a new order of understanding.

Ray Seigfried

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Barbra Heller:

In fact, is it not the connection, itself, that is most salient? Whatever form the dialogue takes, whatever methodology used, it is just that--form. The key is the connection. Without connection, there can be no content. What we are ALL really searching for IS the connection for it is within this context, this meeting, that we overcome the isolation, the separation‚?€?”not only of minds, but more importantly, of hearts. Dialogue in any true and genuine form, provides us with this opportunity, the opportunity to remember that we share common goals, hopes, dreams, that what we have in common far outweighs our differences.

Peace and Blessings
Barbra Heller
Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:05 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Barbara Brown:

Wanted to take some time to answer you questions in some detail. I've seen a "tremendous" increase in the use of National Issues Forums deliberations and deliberation as a purposeful used method of making community decisions in the circles around me. Now, granted I have been working on this for over 10 years. But, it does seem that finally we are achieving a "critical mass" in SC. Many times I still have to be involved with the effort for it to happen, but some people are coming forward to learn how to moderate NIF style and then following through and scheduling and moderating forums.

Let me outline some of the applications that we are working with:

In many cases I use the deliberative forums as an application of a topical project I am working with.

For example as a response to a campus wide survey on alcohol abuse, I suggested use of the NIF alcohol issue. The Health education people have bought into the idea and are using deliberative forums on campus and in the community with the intent to implement prevention and intervention projects that are born within the forums.

Over the past two years the college and university presidents in SC have included NIF in their annual meeting. This is planned to continue. As a result, numerous campuses statewide are scheduling forums and becoming part of other projects that include forums. And, other observers of the College president forums have told me how they have "marketed" the process to others they have met around the country, citing insights they received from he NIF forum they observed.

We recently received a $10,000 mini-grant to hold forums throughout the state using the Pathways to Prosperity NIF style issue developed by the Southern Growth Policy Board. Part of this project will include training students (and faculty) from SC State University, from Clemson University and from some of the 16 Community Technical Colleges within the state to convene and hold forums on this issue. (Of course I hope once they are trained they will hold other deliberative forums.)

And, partly as a result of the above project, Clemson is developing a "Clemson Scholars" program in which students will be trained to convene and moderate NIF and then be required to hold 3 forums during a year as part of their scholarship requirement.

A result of our annual NIF training event, this last year held at Erskine College, an attendee from Spartenburg Methodist is holding a forum as part of their annual Faith and Public Policy symposium. We hold our annual training event at different parts of the state and they are hosted by different colleges and universities. This aquatints more people every year with deliberation and NIF.

For the past 5 years I've implemented a capacity building project in low-income communities. The project is designed to bring about positive changes in regards to systems and process development, human development, resource development and public policy development in regards to children, youth and families at risk.(CYFAR) Deliberative Dialogue using the National Issues Forums has been an integral part of the programming approach implemented. (Visioning, Leadership Development, Intergenerational Service Learning, and Deliberative Dialogue using NIF)

I will be making a presentation at the March 28-31 National Service Learning conference "Citizens not Spectators: Fulfilling the Promise of Democracy" on this CYFAR project. It is called Growing partnerships through Service Learning, and I plan to hold a mock (shorter) deliberative forum as part of the presentation. I have stories to tell on how forums have led to Service Leaning projects that youth and adults worked on together to fulfill their community Vision.

Additionally, on April 20th myself and a colleague from NC State University will co-moderate an web-based "interactive forum" on CENTRA using the New Challenges to American Immigration NIF issue. This will be sponsored by the USDA Cyfernet program. (See www.CyferNet.org)

Enough for now, but I wanted to give you an impression of how Deliberation has grown across SC over the last few years.

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:09 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

John A. Fenner:

Hi Sandy,

My community is a small, rural community in the Southern Appalachians. Our organization has been in existence for 15 years; we changed our name from the Transylvania Dispute Settlement Center to the Center for Dialogue about two years ago to reflect our own growing interest in dialogue.

I have not seen much of a change in the community's willingness or interest in dialogue over the past 15 years. Most, if not all of the dialogue projects in our community are driven by our organization and still require huge effort to initiate and carry out. Unfortunately I do not think there would be much dialogue without our push. For many it is still perceived as "touchy-feely". My experiences outside our community, other than with select projects such as Study Circles (I am an associate with SCRC), or other self selected dialogue groups, finds similar resistance. I do not pretend that this community is representative of all or even many, but this is my experience.


As an organization, however, as we continue to try to address issues at a deeper level we are increasingly turning to dialogue, despite the resistance. I hope this is helpful.

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Tom Atlee:

Here's some slightly solid data:

I've been tracking the number of pages on Google for three phrases at different dates:

"deliberative democracy"

Dec 2000 = 5000 webpages
June 2002 = 5670 webpages
December 2003 = 12,400 webpages
March 2004 = 18,900 webpages

"citizens' juries"

Dec 2000 = 2250 webpages
June 2002 = 2630 webpages
December 2003 = 4,940 webpages
March 2004 = 6,810 webpages


"citizen deliberation"

Dec 2000 = 200 webpages
June 2002 = 250 webpages
December 2003 = 499 webpages
March 2004 = 560 webpages

Coheartedly,
Tom

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John Abbe:

At 10:15 PM -0800 on 3/15/04, NCDD Discussion - Tom Atlee typed:
>Here's some slightly solid data: I've been tracking the number of pages >on Google for three phrases at different dates:

The increase in these numbers means almost nothing. Much more meaningful would be these numbers divided by the total number of pages in Google at the time. Tom & I looked around on Google's site for the old data once and could not find it. From now on Tom, when you do this *please* remember to jot down the number of pages Google has indexed (it's 4,285,199,774 right now, the number is always on their front page).

I would expect the resulting numbers to be much flatter, probably trending down in the case of "citizen deliberation". Sorry... Smile

Life,
John

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Karlita

Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:10 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Kenoli Oleari:

Tom --

There is a clear trend here. Do you think it reflects an increase in interest in deliberative democracy, a response to your excellent networking on this issue, broadening use of the internet, lots of talk because it is hard to get this going in real life, or...?

Are these destination sites or links to other sites?

Also, I am interesting what people mean by deliberative. I include the work I do, which is actually quite different that much of what people mean by deliberative (I think). I keep thinking that I wouldn't use the phrase "dialog and deliberation" to describe what I do, but I identify with that group, too. When I test the waters, it is in response to what I am trying to bring into the world, which is more about large groups and public participation.

--Kenoli

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Leah Lamb:

Greetings folks-

The timeliness of this request is amazing.

I need to explain a little about the project I am working on to give the context of my statement. I am currently working on a project that involves a photographer who has been working with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders on the subject of community and identity. These kids attend one of the "rougher" grade schools, and live in a neighborhood that has a fair amount of poverty. The images have been blown up into 8x10 banners-- and we have been working with local business, homeowners, and residents to put these huge banners up as a pubic installation piece in the neighborhood. The banners have very simple phrases the kids have written such as "I don't want to be seen as a trouble maker."

With that said--- funding is being sought from a very large well know corporation who I will let remain nameless. They turned down the proposal-- but wanted to work with us-- so asked the sponsors to clearly demonstrate the efficacy of this project. From the corporate perspective-- they wanted clear cut, quantifiable results they could measure.

We talked about many things I won't bore you with-- (this is where I get to the point) When we spoke about the idea of doing dialogues-- in the schools, throughout the community, multiracial and generational dialogues-- they got extremely excited about the project-- and told us to write it up and resubmit. What was shocking to me and worth making note of, is that while I see dialogue as process-- they saw it as product. That a large corporation grabbed instantly to the concept of dialogue without needing an explanation spoke mountains to me.

-Leah

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Karlita

Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:11 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Kenoli Oleari:

This underlies an interesting dynamic. Over time, the repositories for creativity in the field of group dynamics have been the academic and business worlds. I have always assumed that this was driven by money, i.e. this is where one could get paid, largely kind of sneaking under the line of sight. Business has been interested, ironically, for the reasons Leah lays out: these new approaches to organizational dynamics often provide for better material results. This is ironic in that, for those of us more deeply involved in this work, many are hoping that one of the things it will accomplish is a shift away from "material" outcome as the primary value. I have constant conversations about this with clients and am always pleased when they "get" new ways of thinking about organizations and values.

One consequence of this is that community, political, nonprofit groups as well as local governments have had less access to this work. Process isn't high on their list of necessary expenses. It's a problem. It's hard to get money for process when someone doesn't have a material stake. Even foundations have shifted way over into the business model and request of applicants the kind of analysis that Leah describes. This is hard when process itself is the goal.

Many of us realize that these are areas where these tools are badly needed. It is hard work.

--Kenoli

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Karlita

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 1:12 pm?? ?Post subject: Question about the growth of D&D- continued Reply with quote??? ???

Kenoli Oleari:

My experience is that there is a superficial interest accompanied by a lot of cynicism about what is possible. I don't think many people have much experience with "new" process and have little with which to judge it. This includes people open to the idea. There are elements that have crept in to meeting lexicons over the last few decades, but many, even quite progressive groups still use Roberts Rules of order. Many new left groups attempt to use a consensus process that developed in the 70s out of a surge in consciousness about process, driven by feminist ideas about the importance of process among other influences. This is often applied dogmatically and without a lot of understanding about group dynamics. There is little understanding of meeting design as an important part of process. There is a wide spread belief that what makes a meeting successful is skilled facilitation or improved inter-personal skills. In relation to public participation, there is little understanding of techniques for building inclusion; the standard for attendance is still the public notice and domination by the loudest, biggest group. Both the left and the right buy into a power analysis, believing that asserting or righting power dynamics pretty much trumps any attention to process. Public bodies operate with extremely dysfunctional mechanisms for public participation, usual a 2-3 minute opportunity to say something, not even necessarily at the time your issue is up for discussion. Attempts to build an inclusive political base are often undermined by power systems sensitive to any exercise of spontaneous power. The power of an empowered and focused constituency is not understood. It is still believed by most that power comes from institutional affiliation. There is a lot of cynicism over whether it is possible for anyone but the institutionally powerful to take significant initiative. Public power is more often than not seen as the ability to block an event from happening. I think there may be more at least periodic flashy events that stand out, but my sense is that these don't "take" to any degree.

In spite of this, there is interest among thoughtful activists and consultants in interesting developments in organizational dynamics and decision making. This seems to crop up more often than not at conferences or special events called with attention to process being part of the intent. Some progressive churches seem open to new process technologies. These are fledgling efforts and I'm not sure it is any more widespread than it has ever been.

There seem to be a number of attempts to encourage public dialog, possibly driven by dissatisfaction with the Bush administration that are growing out of or dovetailing with conversation events inspired by 911 events.

There is an interesting movement toward each other happening between some spiritual movements and process proponents. Shambhala Institute in Nova Scotia and a few spiritual magazines stand out.

It is my observation that even people who are proponents of "new" process often don't model this in their own organizations.

--Kenoli

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Kenoli Oleari:

Sorry about that last post. It's really cynical. On re-reading it, I think it makes me out to be more cynical than I actually am. It certainly displays the frustration I feel at how little interest there is in doing things differently than they have always been done.

--Kenoli

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