A Reflection on Participation in a Dialogue Group in Eugene, Oregon: Based on "a Proposal by David Bohm and Colleagues"

Dissertation, The Union Institute (1999)
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Abstract

This essay reflects my experience of grass roots participation in a dialogue group inspired by physicist David Bohm . Participants met in a circle two hours bi-weekly to explore the content of consciousness. Participants' thoughts and feelings were used as the basis of sharing meaning by examining and playing with their assumptions. The approach was egalitarian, without a leader, agenda, topic or set purpose. Tacitly, this tended to reveal individual purpose through a process dedicated towards clarifying root causes of contemporary issues. A "Bohmian Dialogue" invites deep inquiry from listening, and subsequent interpretations which attempted to transcend participants' limits. The genealogy of this dialogue is reflected in the historical tradition of circular seating within indigenous peoples' meetings. Bohmian Dialogues also reflect the contemporary ideas of Dr. Patrick de Mare and others, who suggest that the Greek notion of koinonia is cosmologically capable of touching intelligence, thereby contributing to the translation of meaning by revealing the understanding of divergent views. All the while, the process of dialogue unfolds recursively. Bohmian Dialogue aims at exploring the limitations of thought. Such understandings contribute to the harmonization of individual, social, cultural, and cosmological dimensions by releasing collective insight, or proprioception , that dissolves fragmentation. The emerging coherence contributes to humanity's living in a sane and secure manner. ;Observations about thought occur through the group's words, play, frustrations, and episodes of periodic silence. During this process and during moments of reflection, I observed the interplay between listening and the resistance of non-listening. Among many other phenomena, I observed a profound "shared flow of meaning" among participants. Overall, the intent of this project is to reveal the frustration, play and, for some in the group, the ineffable or cosmic dimension that becomes apparent during human interaction. The question remains whether or not a coherence was achieved within the micro-culture of these Bohmian Dialogues. If indeed such a coherence emerged, it would validate Bohm's notion that such a critical nucleus might point towards the eventual transformation of humanity. Bohm always gave primacy to the importance of imagination. From the quest for wholeness embodied in his dialogues, he anticipated that art, science, and spirituality would ultimately merge

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