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On Dialogue Paperback – 31 Oct 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Revised edition edition (31 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415149126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415149129
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,751,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

David Bohm (1917-92). Renowned physicist and theorist who was one of the most original thinkers of the second half of the twentieth century.

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First Sentence
During the past few decades, modern technology, with radio, television, air travel, and satellites, has woven a network of communications which puts each part of the world into almost instant contact with all the other parts. Read the first page
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
David Bohm, though primarily a physicist, has been described as one of the 20th centuries most original thinkers. In books such as "Thought as a System" and "Unfolding Meaning" he explores ideas about how thinking is not a neutral reporting of the world, but an active process that shapes our perceptions of and participation within the world. In "On Dialogue" he explores the implications of this for communication, and in particular the ways in which individuals, groups and societies tend towards self-deception, by not taking into account the way their own thoughts have formed their perceptions. The idea of 'dialogue groups' is proposed as a means of examining this process of (mis-)communication, and becoming more aware of the role played by our own thoughts and reactions to other peoples thoughts and actions.
This book is very much a working proposal: ideas and suggestions open for consideration, rather than a finished program. Indeed, the very idea that one could propose such a finished program of 'how to communicate' is against the very spirit of Bohm's suggestions. Primarily a collection of essays around a common theme, this will be of interest to those with an interest in Bohm's philosophy, as well as those who are interested in the ideas of 'dialogue groups'.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bde Wall on 10 April 2010
Format: Paperback
In this short book (under 150 pages) David Bohm discusses the urgent need for dialogue in the modern world. The book is a collection of short essays and talks conducted by Bohm. It is written in plain english, largely free of technical jargon, making it a very accessible and enjoyable read. He gives excellent examples accompanying the points that he makes, making this book enjoyable as well as easy to digest and the points easy to recall to memory.

It is common for communication to be 'monologue disguised as dialogue', where each person speaks to portray the correctness of their own view, rather than to learn from others and reconsider their own assumptions. Bohm explains how this condition has arisen with such force in the modern world. He explains why it is essential for genuine, open dialogue to take place, between individuals, societies, cultures and so forth, and he also demonstrates how dialogue can take place, what the difficulties are and how they can be overcome. Bohm's vision is not for his opinions to 'trump' alternative views, but for there to be a genuine openness where people (including himself) can identify their own taken for granted assumptions, through dialogue with others. Only then can we break free of our own pre-judgements and assumptions, and see that our views are not simply 'right', but are only a particular lens through which to see the world, conditioned by our own experiences.

The core theme of all Bohm's philosophy is wholeness and fragmentation. For Bohm, the belief that the world is naturally fragmented into specific identifiable objects, which are straight-forwardly 'reflected' in our language is the central cause of confusion and social/personal conflict in the world, because different languages and practices fragment nature in different ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bierbrauer on 23 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Bohm has a certain style in his writing which makes him stand out from others who write on similar topics. One aspect is his willingness to suspend his own viewpoint, at least to some degree, by introducing his approach to communication on an intimate level. This does not mean the kind of intimacy between lovers but it is of the same kind. What does this mean ? It means that it is communication without the presence of walls/barriers which interfere with the ability of one person to give rise to the same meaning in the mind of the other. This is the essence of communication at its most basic. The 'normal' mode of cummunication which takes place between people nowadays is way short of this ideal. The social barriers and thought constructions which are firmly embedded in the mind of most induce various automatic or reflex reactions when questions or comments are made which are in some way outside of the "allowed" list. These reactions can vary from fear, the most common, to anger and eventually in extreme cases to violence. How do they arise ? Through purely reflex reactions generated from countless experiences which promote a protective response because of the "existence" of the self. I say existence in inverted commas because Bohm denies this has any reality. Bohm uses his dialogue mode of communication to let people face their thought reflexes and stay with them ie staying aware while their mind and body undergoes its automatic reactions. Only this allows the mind to go beyond these usually unconscious reactions and proceed into a place where creation can occur. This means the creations of new ideas rather than a fallback into the old ones.Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By laurens van den muyzenberg on 13 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this book from two perspectives (1) is it useful for business? (2) Does it present some innovations in modern Buddhist thinking?
Every substantial business holds innumerable internal meetings. The participants will all say that they waste a lot of time in those meetings. Why do they waste so much time? Jack Welch in his book "Winning", in chapter two, "The biggest dirty little secret in business", writes that the problem is LACK OF CANDOR. "People do not express themselves with frankness". "They just don't open up; instead they withhold comments or criticism". "It is absolutely damaging". "Yet, lack of candour permeates almost every aspect of business."
David Bohm explains why this is the case and what you can do about it. The cause is that people hold opinions to which they are attached and when another person expresses another opinion and criticises the opinion of the first person, the instant reaction of the criticised person is to defend his opinion. This leads to an incredible waste of time and emotional energy. Instead the person whose opinion is criticised should suspend immediate reaction and try to understand what the assumptions are on which the opinion of the other person is based and suspend judgement and reaction. Before reacting he should also examine the assumptions on which he based his different opinion. This does require control over one's emotions and thought process.
David Bohm, being a great scientist, includes an amusing story about scientists. Max Planck a German Nobel Prize winning physicist, said about dialogues between scientists: "New ideas don't win, really". "What happens is that the old scientists die and new ones come along with new ideas". If that happens in business, that is no innovation, the company dies sooner rather than later.
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