Professor Bill Halal and me met once again (following our recent GerdTalks show on ‘Beyond Knowledge); this time for a podcast / audio only discussion about the need for improving how we speak to each other and how to become better listeners. Check it out!
UPDATE: Read Bill’s latest newsletter for more details on how to ‘speak across differences’: “A large body of creative ideas is growing on how to handle seemingly impossible situations, usually focusing on a few central principles. The following 5 points sum up the best thinking on what can be seen as the basic “cycle of conversation” – 1. Agree on the context for conversation, 2. Caution the speaker to avoid provocation, 3. Calm the listener to understand fully, 4. Guide the respondent to be constructive, and 5. Conclude with learning and trust…”
(Text by Bill Halal) “Politics in the US, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the decline of democracies everywhere show that conflict is the biggest issue of our time. And it is likely to get worse. Social media is driving speech into uncharted territory with disinformation, inflammatory language and biased algorithms. The digital revolution is automating knowledge, driving the world beyond knowledge into subjective consciousness. Most major problems have “rational” solutions that could be good for all sides. (eg, climate, guns, abortion, etc.) But people are acting on emotions, hate, resentment, greed, power and other values and beliefs in the face of a cluster of existential crises like climate change.
We have to learn how to listen to views we don’t like, accept compromises, bargain, and offer better solutions. This would require a shift from competitive talking to a cooperative dialogue where all sides try to understand each other and reach agreement. It means that truth is not absolute but something that emerges out of consensus. A “learning society” that can talk across differences. A new field of study is emerging to help us navigate these differences (Daniel Kahneman et al., Noise; Adam Grant, Think Again, etc). This also suggests that centrist politicians could gain power because they are able to unite opposing sides in policies that benefit all. Above all, the basic need is to shift today’s mindset from self-interest, money and power to a global consciousness based on cooperation….”