Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The Adventure of Dialogue

Originally posted on December 16, 2010

There’s a quality of dialogue that, when refined, illustrates an interesting dynamic: The superstars of Jesus’ childhood were the wise elders of that culture, the scholars who debated the deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures. Two were outstanding: Rabbi Shammai and Rabbi Hillel, the former being somewhat conservative, the latter somewhat liberal, but both were friendly and kind with each other. They might argue about, say, whether the candles on the Khanukiyya—the Hanukkah menorah or special eight-candlestick holder that is used at that holiday—should be lit in sequence from the right or left side—each one using plausible arguments based on this and that scripture, certain modes of reasoning, etc.

It might be wondered, which one was right. Those who feel there “must” be a right answer are drawn to this, as well as those who want to ally with the one who is more right—a sort of vicarious ego-investment. But this misses the point: It is the argument, the dialogue, ideally free of ego attachments, that is right. It is the dialectical process, purified, the search for synthesis, and then beyond that, in a new argument based on the limitations of the previous provisional conclusion, that carries forth consciousness into new adventures. It is the adventure that is right, not the specifics of the conclusions. Or as Whitehead put it, “All truths are half-truths. It’s treating them as whole truths that plays the devil.” The game is to find the edges of what one imagines to be the true and push further. It is a game, a challenge, a celebration of evolution and expansion.

One Response to “The Adventure of Dialogue”

  • Steve Richman says:

    I was hoping that you were going to bring some light to what goes on in the US Congress. Something has got to be done to shake things up there.

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