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Is constructive dialogue possible anymore?

In what scenario is it possible these days for people of strikingly different opinions to actually listen to others and sincerely open their minds to a change in their own opinions?

By kusch643
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As long as there are people who have incorporated certain beliefs as part of their identities then it is not no matter how reasonable or sound your arguments are.



Madaks420 Level 1 Dec 19, 2017

I think constructive dialogue is still possible, yes. I think that those of us who do not believe have a tendency to pick our fights unwisely. I don't have any interest in debating with a young earth creationist who think s that the only information he or she will ever require is to be found in the Bible. But...... I don't know any intelligent believer, friends of mine, who believe that either. Serious philosophical and theological debate is indeed possible but only at a more intellectually rigorous and open minded level where Both participants have an empathy towards the idea of metaphor being an effective life tool

Reid-McD Level 2 Dec 19, 2017

I try to, but people always get offended by logic. I have had my nose broken twice by my own brother


Yes. The key to it is in the listening. You listen to what is being said focusing only on that and not with respect to how you're going to present your side. Once, you fully understand the point being expressed then you can present your ideas.

SamL Level 7 Dec 19, 2017

This is a great question, and I believe the question we all must ask our selves as individuals, in our everyday interactions. Prior to wanting, social, political and international dialogues on constructive engagement, we must begin with in our everyday communities. An important query for the survival of humanity, we all have forgotten in this age of, me, me, me.

Natnael Level 4 Dec 19, 2017

It's possible for a small portion of the population.

BD66 Level 7 Dec 18, 2017

by having an open mind...I've had some good dialogues with various religious groups and bad ones...more times than I expected, they listened and we both learned (I always listen...peoples beliefs fascinate me). The Fire And Brimstone folk don't listen, though....but it is fun to preach Satanic mumbo jumbo right next to them when they are haranguing people in downtown portland...oh me....


Well that depends. Some things I will not change my mind about. I love everybody on here that I've had the pleasure to agree and disagree with. I believe what i believe. When I don't agree. Don't cut me down for it unless you walked mile in my shoes.


In the scenario known as "respect".

DUCHESSA Level 8 Dec 18, 2017

To debate with a simple person you are delegating in a self debate. Debate with an intellectual and you engage in a complex enigma.

azzow2 Level 9 Dec 18, 2017

Absolutely - provided maturity is part of the equation.

evergreen Level 8 Dec 18, 2017

Of course it is. All you have to do is find the right people. Therein lies the rub.


"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."

-Stephen R. Covey

Hominid Level 7 Dec 18, 2017

Most people do not read internet posts with the intent to understand, they read with the intent to reply



Yes, but Fox News and Russian fake news make it much harder. It requires that each side make a real attempt to understand what the other is really saying.

While leading groups which seemed bitterly embroiled in conflict between different opinions, I have seen groups decrease the conflict HUGELY simply by imposing the following ground rule" Before responding to another person's remark, you must paraphrase or state back to the person what you think they are saying TO THEIR SATISFACTION before you are allowed to make your contribution." I guarantee that if the moderator enforces that rule, it really works.

wordywalt Level 8 Dec 18, 2017

With some people, discussion isn't possible. With others it is. I don't know how the percentages play out, but I feel like there's not a great divide among most people and that civil discussion is absolutely possible among most of us. Or maybe I'm just overly optimistic — nah, that can't be it, nobody who knows me would call me an optimist. smile001.gif

resserts Level 8 Dec 18, 2017

I’d like to think so as well. An idealist at heart I guess.


In many counseling settings, patients have to be open to outside observation and advice to reach a therapeutic level. Individuals shouldn't be "forced" into listening before they are ready. Talking with people who are at least "open" to other viewpoints can be very constructive. A key point is that you also have to be respectively receptive to their ideas as well. Whenever an argument/debate occurs on my facebook page, I warn all participants to be respectful even if they don't agree. If they can't be respectful, I will kill the discussion. If you find someone new that you wish to have a "spirited" discussion, sometimes it's best to set the ground rules up front.

Not at all. I fully appreciate opposing views. If someone expresses a view I agree with and are still disrespectful to people on the discussion, I will delete their access to the discussion, my FB account, or both. I always give warnings first. But sometimes people can't restrain themselves, which is really sad because in this environment we all have the opportunity to get up, walk away from our computer, and settle down before replying. Unlike being in a discussion face to face.


it is rare indeed. i have been able to have those conversations , yet to far and few between . generally because they are not rational people , we deal with , when it comes to god belief.


People who see each other as actual people rather than as "the other" can have such discussions. I had some with a woman who is a strong christian and a republican who is definitely not of the same mind as me when it comes to modern civil liberties. It took a while (we've know each other now for several years) to get to the point of enough mutual trust to even talk about those things but we did it. Were minds open to change? I don't know, but I do think we HEARD each other.

Seeker3CO Level 8 Dec 18, 2017

Can't do it with tRUMPSTERS. Hazardous to your health.

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