Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Arid Wasteland Between Dialogue and Debate

Commentary by Anastasia, The Super Sleuth 

The dictionary defines “arid” as a barren wasteland with little or no rain, too dry to support vegetation.

As it turns out “arid” can be applied, not only to a desert, but also to the space that lies between dialogue and debate. As in rather than talk -- there is silence. Thus a thriving town such as the one New Horizons has focused its attentions on this past year can be both bountiful and limited; its potential for growth in certain areas as stunted as a desert.

Silence can be defined as a situation or state in which people do not talk. 

Silence is an amazing sign of our times! In the midst of ceaseless, frequent idle chatter, little of genuine substance is often being said.

Where, when and how this paradox becomes manifest is worthy of investigation, I said this morning to my alter ego, Anastasia, The Super Sleuth.

I had come to realize, especially in beginning to assess last year’s Coffee House Conversations Project, that New Horizons has been investing in creating conversation scenarios for vast numbers of people who apparently are unable and/or unwilling to talk to one another.  

Isn’t that interesting?

This amazing insight has caused me to ponder, once again, what exactly Starbucks had in mind with their well-intentioned foray into conversations on race relations about this time last year. 

I thought their initiative to be rather naïve at the time. And I still do, perhaps now even more.

Being an inveterate student of human behavior and group social dynamics, as well as having a certain degree of expertise in the area of managing resistance (i.e. the Dark Side of human nature), the presence of so many people, “talking about talking,” but doing little of it with any depth, at least not for long, has brought me up short.

The power and profoundness of this understanding of mine really hit me today in my morning meditation!

I was reviewing my new radio show project, "Conversations with Anastasia on the Art of Conversation;" its gains and that which needs to be achieved, if its objectives are to be reached.

You see when I am presenting principles and their applications to my radio show listeners and readers of my blog post articles, I am typically learning along with teaching. And when I have an inspiring co-host as with Jack Slattery or a “sidekick” as I do with Kim Beckett on Anastasia The Storyteller, they, too, are teaching me. At the highest levels, support people such as these, then, help me reach “awe,” my favorite place to be, if only fleetingly.

Thus the insight came to me this morning that there is a vast wasteland between dialogue and debate called silence. And that the intractable power of silence often has a greater capacity to defeat well-intended good deeds than does any other power. 

Isn’t that amazing; doing nothing can easily defeat doing something?

This insight came to me this morning as I was moving into what seemed to be my almost final tally of the gifts from this week’s “Trading In The Costs Of The Quiets For The Riches of Dialogue" program on the Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show. This morning’s reflection also prompted me to review, again, the exercise I had posted yesterday on my Radio Show Study Guide on Anastasia The Storyteller, the blog site.

The exercise I am referencing is “Step #2” (posted on February 9).  The exercise asks that we consider the various roles played in our lives by talking.

I did that one for myself. And I learned a few things already which I hope you, too, will do.

This morning, however, that exercise and the show Kim and I did on Monday got me to wondering about the many reasons people choose not to talk, or at least avoid exchanging words of substance.  You can be sure I am going to investigate this!

My own curious, Super Sleuth mind, my love for humanity with all its many frailties has now got me thinking about why people avoid talking. I will continue my pursuit of this intriguing issue for a time. The effort fits right in with the next, upcoming round of interviews now being scheduled for New Horizons’ Possible Human, Possible Society Study.

I will be sure to let you know what I/we discover.

For now, I will leave you with this thought: silence can be used as a weapon! 

Could you possibly be guilty of using it in such a way? 

Without intending it, I have used silence -- and -- withdrawal this way so I know the strategy well, I am sorry to say. I am also sorry I didn’t realize this sooner. I regret it now!

Enough for today but I will have much more to say on this subject in the future as my Super Sleuth self investigates the issue.

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