“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Albert Einstein

Why is dialogue important for society?

“Dialogue…is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real communication."

David Bohm from his book On Dialogue

The thinking of 20th century physicists offers an unusual source to help us understand the role of dialogue in today’s society. WCE is particularly indebted to the work of David Bohm. He was a theoretical physicist who dedicated the latter part of his life to explore the implications of his theories on quantum mechanics for society.

One of the key insights of Bohm’s scientific research was that particles are not separate entitities but part of the whole. To make this concept more imaginable, he used waves on the ocean as an analogy. Waves appear to be separate objects but in reality they are an integral part of the entire ocean.

What two key implications for society emerged from Bohm’s work

1. We see and think of the world in terms of separate objects which are the source of many of today’s problems.

In this vein, Bohm reflected:

“Since our thought is pervaded with differences and distinctions, it follows that such a habit leads us to look on these as real divisions, so that the world is then seen and experienced as actually broken up into fragments…. The attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today.“

From his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order

“During the past few decades, modern technology…puts each part of the world in to almost instant contact with all the other parts. Yet, in spite of this world-wide system of linkages, there is, at this very moment, a general feeling that communication is breaking down everywhere.”

From his book On Dialogue

2. Dialogue is the only way for us to come in contact with the ‘whole’ of which we all are a part.

Bohm considers dialogue as a kind of creative catalyst for a group:

“Dialogue is really aimed at going into the whole thought process and changing the way the thought process occurs collectively.“

From his book On Dialogue

“Dialogue…is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated.”

From his book Science, Order and Creativity