Saying Goodbye and Thank you to Wm. Isaacs Chapters 16 & 17

Saying Goodbye and Thank you
to Wm. Isaacs
Chapters 16 & 17
Chapter 16: Dialogue &
• Conversational Violence: Food Lion & ABC News
(1997, Ted Koppel)
“Yet it is in precisely moments like this – where
the temperature to react is so strong, and where
one’s integrity and credibility is on the line –
that the choice to defend or suspend can be
made” (365).
Chapter 16: Dialogue &
Questions for helping a group move from the 2nd
quadrant to the third?
•Why do we feel pressure to defend ourselves?
•What stops us from slowing down and inquiring?
•What might we learn that is new from each other?
•What are we missing that we do not want to hear?
•What do you fear that you might give away or lose if you fail
to defend well?
•Let’s leave space for the possibility that there is no right
Chapter 16: Dialogue &
A Return to Civility – the Congressional Hersey
Retreat (1997)
•Carefully planned to allow Republicans and Democrats to see
each other differently (train ride, families invited)
•Team planned and co-facilitated small group sessions
• Careful questions planned: How has the quality of discourse
affected your personality? What are the obstacles to raising
the quality of discourse? “If I were in charge of the House, I
Chapter 16: Dialogue &
Prison Dialogues – the Transformation of Memory
•Creating a space where the rejected parts of ourselves (and
society) can be looked at, accepted and healed
Chapter 17: Taking Wholeness
“…dialogue could serve as a potent vehicle for
integration of the supposedly “soft” and imprecise
interior dimensions of human experience…with the
supposedly “harder” and more objective exterior
dimensions, like empirical research” (386).
Chapter 17: Taking Wholeness
Isaacs cautions us about on-line communication
which often fails to promote shared understanding,
insight, wisdom or our hearts (389).
Chapter 17: Taking Wholeness
Speaking the True: the Language of Wholeness
•The story of Greg (396-88)
• Developing the capacity of awareness – reflecting
in the moment what we really want to say (marks a
sign of competency of dialogue and a new kind of
wholeness of speech (399)
Chapter 17: Taking Wholeness
Metalogue – “meaning moving besides” –
describes a unified state of experience, where the
meanings and structure mirror one another.
We are able to move beyond the language of the
machine age to changing how we speak, which will
change how we think, and how we act with each
Chapter 17: Taking Wholeness
2nd Innocence – Your first innocence is given, but
that your second innocence is earned (Robert Bly)
Learning to create social fields or containers where
assumptions can be challenges, fears expressed,
different voices included and where new
possibilities emerge is hard work, but good and
necessary work.
My Challenge to You
Identify a small swamp problem or issue in your community,
workplace or even here at the college
Reread Isaacs, this time more slowly and purposefully
Map out a process
Invite people into dialogue – of making meaning together
Grow in your confidence as a “convener of change”