POLARIZATION -1- Larry to Linda 7/3/2016

Linda, I appreciate your commitment and energy in contributing you insights and expertise to assist us face the multiple challenges of our Crisis-of-Crises.

I applaud you working from our genetic propensities (tribal humans attempting to survive civilization). I don’t believe we yet have adequate knowledge of the distribution of variations of these propensities in the global population, nor are we aware of the full potentials of humankind, to design systems to heal many human conflicts.

From my perspective of critiquing ALL proposals for action, I must take issue with your proposal – which is not to argue against the efficacy of quality dialog as one of many practices we need to develop.
From my perspective, you seem to be assuming that the different populations (polarized) to be served by dialog will each have a “positive” and “inter-subjectively” valid position or issue, and are open to dialog on these issues.  In dialog, the intention is that each side will come to comprehend and respect their differences and work to compromise – or both shift to a new, mutual agreed upon perspective. More in involved than misunderstanding each other. I don’t question that such positive issues can’t be identified in polarized populations. Every population has legitimate grievances.

Each person experiences their grievances in their limited context of their inner-constructed wrld – not the so-called objective WORLD – that can never be more than hypothetical.  There are two complementary ways we can approach another person: (1) as a being in a WORLD similar to my WORLD, but having different perceptions and interpretations, or (2) we are each whole integrated wrlds – patterns of neural-molecular activity in their respective brains.

Because all would agree on the existence of things pointed to and perceived in their shared environment (where wrld=WORLD, sufficiently), we assume a much greater agreement on all else that can’t be so easily confirmed, mutually. Because we use the same words in communication (although, often with different meanings), we again believe we are experiencing basically the same WORLD, but with different attitudes and values we ascribe to it. Most of a WORLD is not observable, at a moment or in a lifetime.

One of our challenging propensities is our ease in confusing knowledge and belief. When a particular issue is taken as knowledge by one and as belief by another, they must go meta to resolve the conflict – which many lack the competencies to do so.

Getting strongly polarized persons to engage in facilitated dialog is not easy, and quite impossible for many. Those instances where dialog has worked with persons from polarized populations, the selection factor for those willing to participate voids claims that the practice could succeed with most others. Shifting perspectives of populations will take much more than dialog – although dialog will be integral and important.

In developing UPLIFT I have explored many variations of human-human interactions, with a variety of diversities. This is an area needed much empirical action-research.

I am very, very concerned about the direction of polarity, the hatred and distruct, and the categorization of the other as alien and less-than-human – candidates for elimination. If 10% of the USA population supported Trump, I would be worried; but 40+ %!! The rise of “fascism-nationalism” everywhere is disturbing. These persons live in their own wrlds, in media silos that reinforce their wrlds and equip them with arguments to discredit conflicting information. Such persons cannot “be reached” while they are in contact with others of their consensual wrlds.

Persons literally LIVE in their wrlds, not in a common WORLD. If a person has no or little knowledge of a domain, that domain is absent from their wrld. Wrlds are made up of the information a person perceives in their lives. Humans also learn to organize their input, and there are many levels and stages of “development”, which are the contexts for learning.  Spiral Dynamics and a few other “adult stage development” models characterize the diversity of persons better than a simple left/right distinction.
I have fears that we might become “civilian collateral damage” in Rwanda-style mutual genocide/civil-wars. Remember, violence is often found in families and those who are close – we expect more of them and the emotions can be stronger.

When organize dialog among the polarized that are willing to participate; I would design them as research projects – to explore how the average persons in each, different consensual wrld might be reached.

Another area of concern: might populations be manipulated by powerful, elite forces to induce polarization.  BREXIT may be part of a plot by the top of global corporatism to break up unions of nations states, to isolate them, to ready them for austerity measures and control.  It may not be an accident that contemporary media breeds silos – although nothing is simple today, so much is interdependent and there is more disorder and chaos – which we often confabulate and mask with our delusions of order.

I have reservations that dialog among polarized volunteers will lead to a reduction of polarization in their larger populations – unless it is among respected leaders (which would be possible only if the leaders were not behind the polarization). Measures will need to be taken to ward against those succeeding in coming to mutuality in dialog being rejected by their polarized home populations.
In summary, in my analysis, POLARIZATION is a very complex issue, which I can’t imagine how dialog among those who are willing to dialog can accomplish much. There are many who would prefer to kill you than talk to you. If the dialog process is working, fully expect agents to join the group and disrupt the process – which is difficult to protect against given the need for “openness”. At many stages in the whole process of depolarization, dialogs of many kinds will be essential, but dialog is not the key. There isn’t a key – a very important fact to accept.

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However, there is a vital need for dialog among the different activist groups & support populations.  For various reasons (yet to be explored) activist groups are in virtual silos. Some know of a few others, but there is no significant movement towards synergy or effective collaboration.  I address this issue elsewhere; my call is that this issue be an action focus of some activist groups; and that would benefit from facilitated dialog.

I just remembered (conceptually) a time when I explicitly researched what I will now call INTERVIEW/DIALOGS, to be video recorded.

 

{This was before I read text (that I remember explicitly about dialog), although I probably had read David Bohm’s Implicit Order.  I read Bohm because I had been greatly impressed by his short, essay introduction to Relativity Theory that was an appendix to physics textbook I owned.}

I concluded, and still propose, the audio exchange dialog between competent persons, facilitated by interviewer, edited, can be significant sems (semiotic structures) as part of digital docs.  I actually experimented with them, being VHS recorded. We never stuck to the procedure and the topics for dialog were not carefully chosen.  There can be many variation of this process.

I also imagined a generative hyper-video system, where new video segments could be linked to places in the to-be-viewed video segments. One might create a web of video segments.  Audio search systems could be used, as well as making visual diagrams of the web as TOC (Tables of Contents). With Speech2Text, transcripts can be automatic.

Professional interviews (competent in the process) can move back to prior recorded segments and continue. Participants can tag a video segment location to return to for branching. When in Athens in the summer of 1988, I imagined this for simple audio recording of dialog – which I made many over the years and still have hundreds of tapes – if they haven’t decayed.

 

Threaded comments after an online post are in desperate need of facilitation, monitoring, and editing. They also are rich sources of human interaction phenomena for research; and for possible intervention and guided learning.