“For the most part, we see our conversations as….arenas to win points.” // William Isaacs

By | 14th January 2018

“Another word for ‘not thinking’ is “memory.” Human beings live out of their memories, insulated from direct experience. Memory is like a tape recording; it plays back a once-experienced reality that may or may not apply well to the current situation. Like a tape, memory is limited. The parameters of its responses are already set. The emotions are already defined. Thus, when we face novel situations where the instincts of our memories don’t apply, we don’t know how to respond. Instead, we all back on the habits that most people learn from hard experience: to protect ourselves from one another’s words, actions, and behaviors. Lacking any new way to operate that might let us move beyond the false “solutions” we remember, we cling to our views and defend them as if our lives depended on it….

Too many of us have lost touch with the fire of conversation. When we talk together, it is rarely with depth. For the most part, we see our conversations as either opportunities to trade information or arenas to win points.”

— William Isaacs (“Dialogue” The Art of Thinking Together”)

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