Suspension of judgement is one concept from our readings that is important to me. One important essence of dialogue is the perception of new meanings. This can seldom be done when old thoughts, data and meanings thrive in our mind during dialogue. These three are elements of our judgement. In dialogue, we need to suspend these elements of our judgements to be able to perceive the ‘new meanings’ which are the essence of true dialogue in the first place.
There are no better conversationalists than listeners. Effective listening is another concept from our readings that is important to me. Effective listening involves asking questions and using these questions to encourage other to better convey their meanings. In dialogue, mistakes can be made by others and the best way to make them easily admit or correct the mistakes is through asking logical questions. We also need to keep our mind open, because this is necessary to arrive at the logical questions.
Two youths were in a hot debate at a newspaper stand about some political issues. Unknown to another youth who soon joined them, the first and the second knew each other and are friends. As the argument continued, the new entrant had to side with one of the others. The one who was not sided then shouted ‘Dr Write, ain’t that stupid!’. The new entrant was so angry and slapped him. Of course, the new entrant thought he was accusing him of being ‘too right and stupid’. But Dr Write was the nickname of the friend he was arguing with initially, before the arrival of the new entrant.
The new entrant should not have hurried to judge he was being called stupid. He should have asked the question ‘who is that referring to please’ rather than jump to conclusion. If he had, he would have learnt that the friends were just exchanging banters and not make the mistake of slapping one of them. He should also have been a better listener. He took ‘Dr Write’ for ‘Dr Right’. If I am in such a situation in the future, I will first try to establish if there is a relationship behind the argument and be diplomatic in my intervention.