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Thinking together: contra-conversations

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 26 April 2017



Thinking together: contra-conversations
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 202
Posted DateWednesday 26 April 2017 11:29 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

We all have our beliefs.

Some held firmly; some held not so tightly. Some true, some false. Some we are prepared to change. For others, we are prepared to die.

One of my firmly held beliefs is that if we are going to create a better world, then each and every one of us needs to figure out which of our beliefs are true and which are false. We should be forever questioning everything.

We need to understand better how the world works and the nature of what it means to be human, especially how we think and make decisions. We do this through conversation - by thinking together.

I recognize that many people do not fully hold this belief. They believe that some things are preordained; that they are the way they are; that some things should just not be questioned. Even beliefs such as these are worth talking about, however difficult that might be.

Let's look at an example of different beliefs:

I believe in climate change. Some people don't. I would like to persuade them that climate change is a reality. And they would like to persuade me that I am wrong.

I am open to being proved wrong, and as long as they are open to changing their minds too, I am happy to have a conversation with them. But I don't want a debate. I don't want to argue. Such interactions usually only entrench each other's beliefs.

I would like to have a conversation where we can "think together" and leverage our different views on the subject to gain a better understanding.

I am always looking for ways in which we can do this. Here is one nascent idea.

For the purpose of the discussion, I would like to swap places with the other person. I'd like to "argue" against climate change while they "argue" for it. Wouldn't that be a revolution in how we hold conversations and think together?

I wonder, could I adapt the Knowledge Café process to have such contra-conversations?

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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