On Dialogue – David Bohm

“If people are to co-operate (i.e., literally to “work together”) they have to be able to create something in common, something that takes shape in their mutual discussions and actions, rather than something that is conveyed from one person who acts as an authority to the others, who act as passive instruments of this authority.” —David Bohm, in On Dialogue

How we create meaning must be one of the biggest unknowns, along with where we come from and why we’re here. As we’ve seen in Kitty Ferguson’s Fire in the Equations we can’t be certain of much, any claims about ultimate reality require the leap of faith that we can know anything at all. However, I’d say Cogito, Ergo Sum

 —I think, therefore I am— the only thing I can be certain of is that I think, I know it through my thoughts. Then, by trying to understand my mind through the isomorphism to the outside world, I start creating meaning.

How can I be certain this meaning I’m giving to the outside world, and to myself, is somewhat rational and true? Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach argues that “meaning is split among coded message, decoder, and receiver”.

I believe in a more Bohemian, excuse me, Bohmian type of meaning. Meaning is something we create in common, and meaning itself is something that shapes and creates us. We cannot look at ourselves from a reductionist dualistic perspective, our thoughts are being shaped at every moment, by every little thing we perceive, and the things we perceive are shaped by our thought.

We share meaning with others when we listen to them, when we understand them, and when they do the same with us. When we engage in pure dialogue, let go of our assumptions, and start creating something together. Letting go of our assumptions is enormously difficult, and yet, necessary. Our assumptions have been nourishing themselves from the moment we we’re born, creating schemes about how life should be lived and how everyone should act. Letting go of this will free us to really dive into the endless sea that humanity is, and is certainly our only chance at understanding ourselves.

The only way to understand the world and ourselves is by choosing a still point and parting from there, and the only point that is rational, is ourselves, since it’s the only thing we can be certain of. More than being prisoners of our own perspective, we start the journey from our own perspective, and it’s not the truth that shall set us free, but the voyage itself. All the meaning of the universe converges in your navel, the point were the meaning and possibilities are of infinite density.

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