Discourse. Dialogue. Debate. Diminished?
In an interview with Bill Moyers, writer and political analyst Sam Tanenhaus addressed the challenge with current-day discourse or dialogue or debate.
The people around the table “have many mouths but they don’t have many ears…
The sign of a true statesman is the capacity to listen…
to try to inhabit the thoughts and ideas of the other side.” (p. 261)
A lot people talking. Not many listening.
When these collective monologues turn to gossip and insults, the mouths without ears end up killing people’s dignity and assaulting their souls according to psychologist Brenda Shoshanna.
From the lack of listening to the talking over one another, one would think that to even consider meaningful discourse somehow diminishes one’s self. Shoshanna blames it on ego domination. We diminish conversation, others, and ourselves. She states,
One way for the ego to protect itself from being insulted is to enjoy insulting others.
This is the basis of gossip and slander…
However, what we do not realize is that engaging in these
practices not only harms others but also harms us.
We keep ourselves thinking negatively; we keep upset alive within. (p. 62)
Before we can collaborate, we must converse. Before we can do that, we need to consider the subject before us. Consideration (that is, careful thought over time) requires work; listening; questioning; listening some more. Bridge building–or at least authentic efforts to construct a connection. No short cuts.
Video Recommendation of the Week:
In his 1960 hit, Joe Jones, sings “you talk about people you don’t know….you talk about people wherever you go.” You just talk too much!
For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.