What is the difference between "discuss", "debate" and "argue"?


(denise wheeler) #21

It’s interesting that both start with the letter “d," but I think of dialogue as a process that allows us to “think together.”

With discussion I always think of it as more or an intimate relationship, more of a drawing together of people, where most jump in with their opinions with little pause or reflection.

In fact, I had to really stop and think about how the two compare and picture how a discussion would be vs a dialogue. And this is what came to mind:

THERE’S A PROBLEM IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE NEIGHBORS UP IN ARMS ABOUT IT

First neighbor says: I think we should file a complaint with the city.

Second neighbor says: If we do that, then we’ll have to stay on top of it and go to all those stupid meetings.

Third neighbor says: I think we just should wait and see if it dies down. I don’t want to create any more problems.

Fourth neighbor says: It’s our right to file a complaint. Why does everyone always think that creates more problems?

To me that’s a “discussion”

THE SAME PROBLEM IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH THE SAME NEIGHBORS UP IN ARMS

First neighbor says: I wonder why the city keeps letting this happen?

Second neighbor says: I’m sure they have a good reason for it. Maybe it’s the best way for them to go about it.

Third neighbor says: I can barely run my business, let alone an entire city. That has to be tough.

Fourth neighbor says: We should also keep in mind that the city has done some pretty great things. So maybe we should just let it go and see what happens.

To me that’s a “dialogue”

One leads to a resolution and the other just goes on and on. So easy to see how you can remove the “debate and argue” from it.


(denise wheeler) #22

@BillAmes I think what @Eleprocon is saying is that he sees dialogue as a means of bringing people together to help build an understanding of something, and wants to use that to “inquire” into ideas instead of everyone advocating for their own opinions.


(Bill Ames) #23

I agree with that. To understand something one needs to inspect it, perhaps test it, take it apart, figure out how it works. The first step is to find that “something.” One question I have, if we:

does this imply there can be no experts in the exchange of thoughts? Perhaps your use of opinions actually means what an uneducated person may think about the subject? Like asking the third-grade science class to talk about how to solve global warming, I am sure they would have many new approaches that humanity had not yet considered.

Update: I was thinking about Bohm and how it might be implemented in software. I am not talking about AI, where we may not know what is going on. Just use the definition of Bohm to write the code. Now, that code would not be usable for things like self driving cars or medical diagnostics, both of which require firm decisions. My question is how would we use this Bohm software, what examples can we offer showing it has a useful purpose. Just like we can test a spreadsheet program to balance our budget the same program can be used to plan a corporate takeover. If I had on my PC a well written Bohm program, what would it require as inputs and what would it have as outputs? (This update is actually an example of the result of thinking about the Bohm process. )


(denise wheeler) #24

That’s interesting @BillAmes, but a bit beyond me. I can see the point about wanting to put it into an applicable program, but I don’t know enough about the Bohm process to know how to apply it in hard ways like that.

From the questions @Eleprocon raised, however, it appears to me that he simply wanted to try to step away from the standard discussion process, in that “I respond, you respond, they all respond” kind of way and see if it’s possible to have a more free range dialogue, in order to build upon an idea instead of just having everyone put their two cents into it.

So I think he’s talking more about the process than the actual content. What the actual steps of that process are, I don’t know. So that might be a good place to start or have someone explain.


(Bill Ames) #25

All human activity and software is executing a process. We refine the process by seeing how it works and making corrections. The Bohm process is just like street signs, if you have no destination they are useless. Unless we see the Bohm process in action we have no place to go.


(denise wheeler) #26

Hmmm… I interpreted it completely different than that. In fact, to me it seems like the complete opposite, where it isn’t about arriving at any preconceived destination or having any set agenda/road map.

I could be wrong, but it seems like it’s more about letting go of those kind of restrictions, that belief that you need to know where you’re going and how to get there, and simply just putting out some thoughts or ideas and seeing where they lead in an open, mutually respectful and engaging way.

Kind of like having a blank canvas that everyone adds their own paint/colors to it. You have no idea how it’s going to end up, but the collective process of doing it will eventually lead to something and, in the process, hopefully enable each person to approach it in a new way.

So basically put down the brush you usually use, or ignore those sign posts and road map, and just be open to and inspired by the thoughts of others instead of those set notions of how something should be accomplished.

Just my take on it, but interested to know how others see it.


(denise wheeler) #27

Btw – it reminds me a lot of quantum mechanics, which I’ve had to learn about since those who laid it out are part of the book I’m doing.


(Bill Ames) #28

I agree with this totally. However, it is a specific goal, to paint a picture with everyone contributing. We do not paint on the roast beef in the icebox, we do not paint on the cat. We do not paint on the canvas with MEK. There is a specific goal and a set of tools being used. Can you give a better example of what you think the Bohm process is? Your example had many restrictions, as I noted. Can you give an example, people in a room doing what with what and why? They may have just finished a lite meal, enjoying a cup of tea and a conversation starts. Can you give me some example?


(denise wheeler) #29

@BillAmes I can see what you want, but I explained it as best as I understand it. I’m not that familiar with it. I just perused a few things on it. So I’m not an expert on it in any way and don’t know how coming up with more examples would satisfy anything. From what I can tell, that seems to be one of the things it attempts to remove, all that analyses and need for clarification. Thoughts don’t always have to be clarified. Sometimes they’re just a person’s thoughts and a lot can be learned from just sitting with them instead of breaking them down like an experiment and analyzing them.

Again, I could be wrong, but it’s the way I see it from the little I’ve read on it


(Bill Ames) #30

Here is something I consider silly, to give an example of different paint on the canvas.

Well, Joe, I am feeling blueberry today, but with the weather going dark chocolate I am worried that my bed will melt before it comes out of the oven. You know Moe, I don’t know how to think about that, we all used up our feathers to make hammers last year, and the frogs ran away with the windows. I wonder if you are too harsh on the weather room, if you used a different light, it might show more berry trend.

This paragraph above makes no sense.

I need to see how a Bohm conversation looks. How would a scene in a short tutorial video made to teach the Bohm process to fifth-graders sound? Those here that are proponents of the Bohm process would know such an example, perhaps one exists?


(denise wheeler) #31

@BillAmes So how about this?

My boys used to have all their friends over and spent many nights just sitting around the dining room table talking. There was no real agenda and no real issue to discuss. They just sat there throughout the night talking about different things.

Some might think that nothing is accomplished by that and that there’s no real point in just sitting around talking. But I know that each of those kids always left feeling really good about it and that the experience alone of just sitting there and randomly talking with everyone made them feel closer and more bonded, and that they inevitably got something out of it, as well, that they carried on into their own lives, whether the ability to just sit there and listen to others better, without feeling like a point had to be made or some opinion won, or a new way of expressing things that they realized engaged the group more.

I would have to go back and ask them to know for certain, but I do know for them to just sit in a circle like that and talk, taught them as much as any classroom and gave them a lot of the communication tools that they use today.


(denise wheeler) #32

@BillAmes I think you’re trying to fit it into a box and make it into some kind of formula, which I think is counter to the whole objective.

That’s why I brought up quantum mechanics, because (a) it pretty much rewrote the laws of physics, or at least the way we approach physics and think about it; and (b) because it is all about the uncertainty, not the known.

So sure, Joe had a blueberry day and worried that his bed will melt while Moe doesn’t know how to respond since he can only think of frogs and windows.

But what if they set all that aside and just sat there and talked? Instead of Joe making his bad day the focus, what if he set that aside and said, “Hey, nice shirt you’re wearing, Moe.” Moe then says thanks and they end up sitting there just randomly talking about whatever, because whenever you remove that main focus, it leaves a space for other things. Otherwise, it’s that focus that generally ends up swallowing the dialogue/discussion/conversation.

I think that’s what the point of the Bohm Dialogue is, to not always come to the table with a set list of things to talk about, whether it’s the day’s gripes or so and so’s inability to respond to those kind of feelings.

When we do that then we have an objective: Joe’s having a crap day and he wants Moe to make it better or wants sympathy or whatever, otherwise why say it?

You, like Joe, are looking for an answer or a response that suits you.

But what if, like Joe, you just set that all aside and just said hey, “This Bohm thing is kind of interesting. Wonder how he came up with that?”

There’s a thousand different follow ups I could fashion from there, but what if you just sat there and listened to all the responses (or read them) instead of interjecting your opinion about each one or analyzing what people are trying to say?

You probably wouldn’t get the outcome that you want, but you would get something you didn’t expect and, quite likely, something far more useful and important.

That which we don’t know, always teaches us, and that which we do know never gives us anything new.

It’s all about nature and behavior. You want an outcome with a discussion and Bohm, I think, just wants to hang out and talk and see where the thoughts lead.


(Bill Ames) #33

I would have to know their ages to know what they were probably talking about and if they had any common social groups, church, club, gang, scouts. Also what social issues did they have, poverty, weight, bullying, did they suffer from (from web - Mental illness in children.) All of this would determin what conversations they may have had. I am sure none of it was an example of the Bohn process.


(denise wheeler) #34

I surrender, again. No matter what is said you’re going to challenge it and take it in some other completely crazy direction that has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than your desire to prove everything wrong. So strange. But good luck with that cause it’s draining and senseless.


(Bill Ames) #35

I support the Bohm process and all I ask is to see an example of the actual conversation where it is used. Why is that so difficult to show? Those who understand the process, have been part of conversations could just give examples from memory or make something up like a tutorial script. That is all I have ever asked for.


(Mark's Myth) #36

This looks really interesting to me and seems to be held in a sort of stalemate… trying to cross the threshold from discussion mode while trying to find the way into dialogue mode.

Ha…the liminal zone of communications!

Yet, this seems to be a good example of the attempt to get there.

Yes, I too believe the clues have to do with Bohm’s research into quantum states.

I read much of @denisewheeler’s suggestions as having a depth in how she answered that is reflective of Bohm’s intent.

BTW @BillAmes I am not sure we have resident expert on the Bohm Dialogue as you suggest.

I’ve read this thread a few times and wonder how much of the Bohm process is about holding space and not being reactive. Hummm… interesting that these word metaphors take on the tone of physics here.

…and now you both have me wanting to hear more about MoJoe and the blueberries :wink:


(Bill Ames) #37

This is probably accurate. Whoever introduced us to the Bohm process has the responsibility of supporting it. I have never stated any opinion of it and have asked repeatedly for examples of it so I could learn. If no one feels they can take ownership of it, being a local mentor for us, then it is likely it will be unused. I think we are actually discussing about discussing about the Bohm process. We have the internet and we have youtube, as no example of the Bohm process exists it may be that it is not real. Think about this. Suppose you wanted to teach the students about the wonder of hot fruit pies but there was no description of one or the steps needed to make one. The Bohm process needs a champion.


(Bob Copeland) #38

The fun definition is whether or not you accidentally hit someone’s sacred cow. If not – discussion. If you sideswipe said sacred cow – debate & if you smash it head on – argue (incessantly)