Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Divine Dialogue

Over at Ned Flanders comment shake down, Clark had a phrase I have been trying to alliterate for some time "dialogue by force." Of course he used the American spelling but, then we all know, communication is context dependent.

The issue revolves around a minority's concept of dialogue. The other week I was listening to CBC or something and heard various native groups complaining that, even though they were given seats at a first native conference, they weren't allowed to have a true dialogue with the government. While I obviously could be wrong about the specifics, a tangential background story, led me to believe that the only way people would accept that a dialogue had happened would be if the government responded in action to the issues. I think this is quite a distinction from most conceptions of dialogue.

I think most people consider dialogue simply as a type of two way conversation. Each person's comments are modified to fit context, communicator and receivers. The exchange is, to the extent of the open mindedness and skills of each group, dynamic. But is action a required part of dialogue?

I think for some feminist origined groups the answer would be yes. Dialogue only happens as you move forward. Thus there is no level of response that is appropriate, only an ever increasing level of response. While I tend to see this as an infantile version of fascism, it certainly seems to be a sticking point between "establishment" and "reformers". More specifically it seems to be a slippery slope fight with idealists that think more is always better.

So how does this relate to Mormonism? I think it is parallel to some complaints ex-mo's have of the establishment and its lack of response to perceived issues. Can you say the establishment hears you if they are impersonal and the only way you can judge response is through action? Do individual really even want action? I think the answer is yes if it is in their direction, no if it is pejoratively labeled entrenchment. Personally I think much of the animosity in this regard centers around democracy.

Being in an ongoing federal election this idea certainly seems relevant. Multicultural theory seems to favor the idea that minority voices are important. The diversity they bring increases efficiency through novelty, and unique insight. As a result, it is the responsibility of such groups to make their voices heard. However, once the circular dialog effect discussed kicks in, this becomes a loaded issue. Why? Because in a democracy it is also the responsibility of the establishment to enforce majority issues, limiting non-representative derailment from special interest groups. Thus the circular nature of feministic dialog can become very restricting if it is carried out without trust, and complete comprehension of the role of each side.

In some ways this seems to be the bloggernacle cafuffle. Are opinions heard despite arbitrary management? The only way dialogue without action is possible is in an environment of trust and comprehension. Quite interesting when you apply this concept to our communication with God. Do some see his hand in everything because they feel that means they are having a dialogue with the divine? Do some need little response because they trust that concerns are heard despite a lack of action?

1 comment:

Clark Goble said...

Chris: Clark had a phrase I have been trying to alliterate for some time "dialogue by force."

You've been trying to alliterate it? Demanding Despotic Dialogue? Commanding Chat? Navigated Negotiations? Pressured Parley? Chatting Compulsion?

(Sorry, couldn't resist)