Howard -- I love this.  YES, yes, yes.  We need to embrace and hold  
everything that is part of our experience.  In fact, one of the  
processes we use has a piece in it called the "Reality Dialogue."  
where we hold everything in the room and, without working any  
content, arguing about or resolving anything, we become absolutely  
clear as a group where the group's common ground lies, i.e. what is  
it that everyone in the room can support, and what is not agreed on,  
taking enough time to understand items in both categories without  
working them.  This gives us a firm ground to move on to action  
planning.  All conflict does not need to be solved before moving on.   
The group just needs to understand where the conflict is so that as  
it moves forward it can take this into account.

One of my favorite results was a client, a community where action  
teams broke out into groups with two of them working opposing sides  
of an issue.  Without the work the group had done to get clear about  
its common ground, this situation would have likely broken out into  
conflict.  In this case, the group just saw it as a fact that these  
two groups had opposite opinions, it was not problem.


On Aug 30, 2007, at 12:59 PM, Howard Ward wrote:

> Hello everyone - I'd like to weigh-in again on this issue of  
> whether we need a 'third thing' other than the two existing  
> catagories of Dialogue & Deliberation.
> First I'd like to say that I don't have any problem with that, in  
> the sense that it's clear that an approach like Dynamic  
> Facilitation doesn't fit neatly into either of these catagories.  
> And the arguments being made are excellent ones. Another catagory  
> would be fine with me. But, I suspect that I personally will likely  
> continue to feel that any approach which has a goal like: "that  
> reaches joint conclusions" (from - Beyond the Box), is  
> still a deliberation process. An excellent and creative process,  
> but still basically a deliberation process due to it's basic intent.
> The suggestion below that Kenoli made reminded me of my first  
> experience with Bohm-style dialogue, which hopefully illustrates to  
> some degree how dialogue differs in one significant manner from a  
> deliberation process which has the intent to "reach joint  
> conclusions". The suggestion I refer to is the suggestion to "ask  
> the group to stop and start listing the things they agree  
> about....", and, to "see how the energy changes." And one would do  
> this when one perceives the group to be "deadlocked."
> But deadlocked in what sense? I suspect in the sense that the group  
> has stopped moving towards the goal of "joint conclusions?"
> Here I'd like to mention that I think this is a great suggestion by  
> Kenoli, and I think that Dynamic Facilitation is a wonderful &  
> creative approach. And I confess that my experience of the Dynamic  
> Facilitation process is essentially limited to the one day seminar  
> by Rosa & Tom Atlee that I took in Palm Springs a couple years ago,  
> along with reading many of the online explanations of it. My intent  
> is not to question the value of this wonderful process. I simply  
> wish to share my view of how it may differ from 'my own'  
> understanding of dialogue.
> I think I may have shared some aspects of this experience here  
> before, so I hope no one finds it offensive in any way.
> In 1986 I attended my first 'Dialogue Weekend' at the Krishnamurti  
> Foundation in Ojai, CA in the Fall of that year. There was an  
> assortment of exploration topics that I don't fully remember. The  
> topic that I chose was 'Order'. Anyway, they broke the large group  
> of about 80 or so people into smaller dialogue groups of about  
> 10-12 people in each group. We would meet mostly in these smaller  
> groups but also come together each day in the large group and talk  
> about what was going on in the smaller groups.
> In the group I was in, there was one gentleman who seemed to be  
> very "disruptive". He was disruptive in the sense that a few of the  
> other people in the group were complaining that basically he was  
> impeeding the dialogue. Or you might say he was creating a  
> "deadlock" situation.
> In the large group when people we're talking about their smaller  
> groups, it seemed that many of the other groups were having similar  
> "deadlocks" due to one or more disruptive members.
> Since exploratory dialogue was a totally new experience for me, I  
> basically didn't know what to make of this. I didn't have any  
> opinions in my head about what 'should or shouldn't be occuring'.  
> Looking back on this situation, my 'not knowing', in combination  
> with a genuine curiousity,  put me unintentionally in a state which  
> Krishnamurti referred to as 'Choiceless Awareness', or Bohm's  
> suggested state of 'suspension of thoughts, impulses, judgments, etc."
> As the weekend went on, an insight occured which seems best  
> described something like this: "The real learning has to do with:  
> 'directly experiencing What Actually IS', and to a lesser extent  
> with the views being expressed or the 'topic of discussion'. It  
> wasn't about reaching some sort of group conclusion in thought, but  
> rather experiencing the actual nature of our relationship."
> To futher illustrate this, I'd like to offer an excerpt from Bohm's  
> Dialogue Proposal, and the Dialogue definition from the NCDD website:
> NCDD: "Bohm's approach to dialogue involved participants working  
> together to understand the assumptions underlying their individual  
> and collective beliefs. Collective reflection on these assumptions  
> could reveal blind spots and incoherences from which participants  
> could then free themselves, leading to greater collective  
> understanding and harmony. "
> **I often use explanations very similar to this when attempting to  
> explain dialogue to people who haven't experienced it, as I feel  
> 'revealing these blind spots' is indeed a valuable aspect of the  
> dialogue process. But I feel such attempted explanations fail to  
> convey this more important aspect of Bohm's dialogue which is the  
> more 'experiential aspect' of it.
> Bohm excerpt: "It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the  
> sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real  
> communication between individuals, nations and even different parts  
> of the same organization."
> and: "It provides an opportunity to participate in the process that  
> displays the communication successes and failures."
> So, here's what I see as a significant difference between Bohm  
> dialogue and any other process which has an intended goal of  
> reaching joint conclusions or resolving deadlocks. In a  
> deliberation process, the intent is (generally speaking), to  
> resolve deadlocks. In dialogue, one embraces the deadlock 'as it  
> actually is', in order to see and experience it's actual nature.  
> It's about paying attention to 'What Acually Is' (the Territory),  
> rather than mostly on trying to resolve conflicts between  
> invididual beliefs & opinions (the Maps).
> Now, I actually suspect that many people have a view of Bohm  
> dialogue as being basically about clearing up blind spots & better  
> understanding one another, which of course is indeed incredibly  
> valuable for a potentially more harmonious relationship. But I  
> suggest that this aspect of dialogue which has to to with  
> "understanding the process that fragments" and, "experiencing the  
> nature of the successes and failures" is the real meat of the Bohm  
> process. Or you might say: 'the main course'. Clearing up blind  
> spots is: 'an excellent nutritional (necessary for good health)  
> side-dish', and the warm fuzzy feeling is 'the dessert'.
> Embracing 'What Actually Is", including deadlocks, is what I see as  
> the primary aspect of Bohm dialogue. And a process whose intent is  
> to move beyond deadlocks to reach joint conclusions is a basically  
> a Deliberation process, from my perspective.
> But again, in all honesty, a third catogory is fine with me. But  
> I'll probably file this third way under the deliberation umbrella,  
> in my own head.
> Regards - Howard
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kenoli Oleari
> Sent: Aug 29, 2007 10:34 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [NCDD-LIST] Infrastructure discussion
> DeAnna -- Great description of the kind of shift that can happen  
> around "decision."  I think there are other ways in which the  
> things we are discovering about group engagement are changing  
> things society holds as absolutes, like what a decision is.  It is  
> one of the reasons it is so difficult to bring the work we do into  
> mainstream contexts.  These context are set up with certain  
> expectations and no doubt about those expectations.  They are  
> simply taken as the way things are.  It provides little common  
> ground for discussing other possibilities.  Anything outside of the  
> dominant paradigm is dismissed as silly.
> As a test, for some of you new to this, the next time a group you  
> are in seems deadlocked as a result of a conflict, ask the group to  
> stop and start listing the things they agree about in relation to  
> the issue being address.  Do nothing else and watch how the energy  
> changes.  Sometimes this simple act is all that is needed to move  
> into an unexpected decision of the sort DeAnna describes.
> --Kenoli

Kenoli Oleari
1801 Fairview Street
Berkeley, CA  94703
Neighborhood Assemblies Network
510-601-8217, [log in to unmask],