On Dialogue

David Bohm (2004)

Never before has there been a greater need for deeper listening and more open communication to cope with the complex problems facing our organizations, businesses and societies. Renowned scientist David Bohm believed there was a better way for humanity to discover meaning and to achieve harmony. He identified creative dialogue, a sharing of assumptions and understanding, as a means by which the individual, and society as a whole, can learn more about themselves and others, and achieve a renewed sense of purpose.

"In this short book (under 150 pages) David Bohm discusses the urgent need for dialogue in the modern world. The book is a collection of short essays and talks conducted by Bohm. It is written in plain english, largely free of technical jargon, making it a very accessible and enjoyable read. He gives excellent examples accompanying the points that he makes, making this book enjoyable as well as easy to digest and the points easy to recall to memory.

It is common for communication to be 'monologue disguised as dialogue', where each person speaks to portray the correctness of their own view, rather than to learn from others and reconsider their own assumptions. Bohm explains how this condition has arisen with such force in the modern world. He explains why it is essential for genuine, open dialogue to take place, between individuals, societies, cultures and so forth, and he also demonstrates how dialogue can take place, what the difficulties are and how they can be overcome. Bohm's vision is not for his opinions to 'trump' alternative views, but for there to be a genuine openness where people (including himself) can identify their own taken for granted assumptions, through dialogue with others. Only then can we break free of our own pre-judgements and assumptions, and see that our views are not simply 'right', but are only a particular lens through which to see the world, conditioned by our own experiences.

The core theme of all Bohm's philosophy is wholeness and fragmentation. For Bohm, the belief that the world is naturally fragmented into specific identifiable objects, which are straight-forwardly 'reflected' in our language is the central cause of confusion and social/personal conflict in the world, because different languages and practices fragment nature in different ways. It is better to see all objects as abtractions, belonging to our thought processes, rather than as being inherent distinctions in nature itself. In short, Bohm sees all reality as one whole, and all distinctions we make are representations reliant on our thought processes, which are themselves abstractions. 'On Dialogue' is an excellent book and very important." - Review written in 2010 by Mr. Bde Wall (as published on Amazon.co.uk)

On Dialogue (Routledge Classics)

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