The “National Dialogue”

I was listening to George Lakoff, linguistics professor at Berkeley, CA, give a speech on the “national dialogue” we are engaged in here in the U.S. He pointed out that moral frameworks govern our language, and that words govern the triggering of those moral frameworks. This led me to ask myself, “Then what triggers the words?”

A word is an attempt to express a concept. For instance, governance is a concept. God is a concept. Love is a concept. Money is a concept, etc. Problems arise not only when we fail to recognize that our personal assumptions about reality may not encompass concepts that others hold dear, but also when we fail to realize that each person assigns a feeling to each concept. A word is a concept with a feeling piggybacked onto it. Without exception, the feeling is something that has been taught to us by family, friends, and the world of institutions, media, etc.

Further troubles arise when we fail to see that we have also been taught to categorize all concepts and their associated feelings into one of two categories – good or bad – thus the moral framework that Lakoff speaks about. This categorizing business is the business of judgment. (We should know better than to judge others – but we don’t. We’re so busy judging that we can never learn anything!) Once we make a judgment, we must then act in certain ways. Sometimes we must act angry, other times we should act insulted, or happy, or afraid, or whatever.

When you really look deeply at this, what you see is that the “national dialogue” really comes down to just a bunch of people lost in their own world and talking to themselves! They hear some words from somewhere outside the self, have a feeling reaction, make a string of judgments about what they think they heard, then respond to their own judgments with predetermined behaviors that they act out without ever examining what they are actually doing.

We have no national dialogue. There is only a landscape of people acting out their own dramas, blind and deaf to what is really happening with those around them. Blasting out our feelings in every direction does not constitute a dialogue. We are not going to be capable of meaningful dialogue at any level until we start changing our consciousness enough to see and really listen to those around us as if those others exist and matter.

6 thoughts on “The “National Dialogue”

  1. Yes! I get it! No change in mindset, no change in dialogue. Which at the moment is no more than two monologues at the same time.

    What I don’t get is, now what? How do I / you / us lead by example? Make a difference, here, now? I garnered concepts (wonderful!) and yearning (hasn’t faded yet) from “Robes” and from “Elves.” So far, so good. What’s next?

    I’m reminded of summer soldier and sunshine patriot. In Thomas Paine’s day, “Now what?” was VERY clear.

    Thank you, as always, for transcribing your heart.

    • I think we’re going to have to answer that question within the next year or two. If we don’t…well, I guess we’ll have to deal with our results. Actually, that will be the case whether we do or don’t take a hand in deciding what’s next. I just think we might enjoy the results a little more if we create something we want.

  2. I’m now reading Eben Alexander’s “Proof of Heaven”, and I’m sure you will connect with him quite directly, if not already. I quote p 85 “To experience thinking outside the brain is to enter a world of instantaneous connections that make ordinary thinking (i.e.,those aspects limited by the physical brain and the speed of light) seem like some hopelessly sleepy and plodding event. Our truest, deepest self is completely free. It is not crippled or compromised by past actions or concerned with identity or status. It comprehends that it has no need to fear the earthly world, and therefore, it has no need to build itself up through fame or wealth or conquest.
    This is the true spiritual self that all of us are destined someday to recover….. This is the being living within all of us right now and that is, in fact, the being that God truly intends us to be.”

    I have to stop there, because as with all good works the before and after of what he says would have to be included too. Thanks Penny, for your posts. Happy New Year’s Eve to you, wish we could be there for the forward-manifesting 2013 celebration on the 31st.

    • Hi Nancy and thanks for the note. I haven’t read Alexander’s book, but I have read ABOUT it, and it sounds very interesting. Having been in that world “outside the brain” and experienced those “instantaneous connections” many times, I can only say “Right on, Brother!” to his statement. There is a world of possibilities out there that many people have never even dreamed about!!

  3. Someone, perhaps Maxim Gorky, once wrote: “There will come a time, I know, when we will listen to each other as music.”

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