BOHM-IAN DIALOG – revisited


What “Bohmian Dialog” IS and ISN’T.

It is futile to debate “meaning” or “conventional usage” of terms. The issue is the variety practices claiming to be “Bohmian”, and 1) whether they are what David Bohm prescribed and 2) whether they contribute to progress in human mutual comprehension/understanding.

I haven’t explored the literature, in depth. I recently viewed old video interviews with Bohm, where he only mentioned “dialog” as an aside. But, from this limited resource, I speculate/propose that David Bohm’s “dialog” was MUCH MORE LIMITED than future proponents claim “is the practice”.

David’s explorations beyond physics, involving “dialog” with Krishnamurti, shifted the “focus” of dialog to “vast existential issues”. This gave the impression of dialog without FOCUS. This was a series of dyadic dialog – only two persons – which can be more open.

David’s INTENT was to improve COLLECTIVE HUMAN processes WHEN attending to SPECIFIC ISSUES. Gather together a group of persons and facilitate their interaction to CONVERGE on a MUTUAL interpretation, that can lead to significant ACTION. David’s motivation was PRAGMATIC, not existential.

As I comprehend the contemporary interpretation of B-Dialog, it is to just gather together a group and proceed with a process, hoping to result in a “convergence of minds” on topics of the group’s “choice”. The objective of this B-Dialog Movement is to motivate persons to engage in transformative activities, to better prepare them for the future. This may be a valuable goal, but to succeed it will require substantial strategy and research.

That participants report that a dialog was enjoyable, enlightening, meaningful, rewarding, or useful is not sufficient evidence for the efficacy of the practice.

Improving “dialog”.

Consider dialog as a component of more extended societal processes. Example, dialog as part of legislative sessions, in court proceedings, in educational processes, in planning sessions, in evaluation sessions, in training sessions, as recreational, about poetry, music, etc., ETC.

NEED: Compose a comprehensive categorization of different types of “dialog”. Include: self dialog; dyadic; small to large groups; mixed synchronous (direct F2F, or realtime online) & asynchronous; degrees & types of facilitation or leadership; singular or series; variations of intent; nature of participants; dialog in relation to a semfield, dialogs with observers; ability to interact with recordings of dialog; training for dialog; text dialog; mixed text and voice dialog; open conversation; topic restricted; comment dialog to presentations; instructional and teaching dialog; ETC.

NEED: Feedback/Analysis processes (including viewing of recorded dialogs) to research/improve both the dialog phenomenon and the consequences of dialogs on participants and others. Given the large variety of dialogs, this should result in an extensive action matrix.

Important will be the pre-selection of participants and their preparation – considering the vast diversity of cognitive styles. There is never a random group; even when there are no specified criteria for “selection”.