"A friend of mine said once that in addition to holding conferences for analysts with a special interest in children, adolescents, depression or anxiety, we should call meetings for those with a special interest in listening to each other, regardless of the topic. Perhaps Therip has just such an event in mind." - Deborah Luepnitz – Comment four

This quotation from David Bohm is relevant to this discussion:

"Einstein remembered that when he first met Bohr, he felt close to him.  …  They talked physics in a very animated way, and so on. But they finally came upon a point where they had two different assumptions, or opinions, about what was the way to truth.  Bohr’s judgements were based on his view of quantum theory, and Einstein’s on his view of relativity.  They talked it over again and again in a very patient way, with all good will.  It went on for years, and neither of them yielded.  Each one just repeated what he had been saying before.  So finally they found that they weren’t getting anywhere, and they gradually drifted apart.  They didn’t see each other for a long time after that.

"Then one year, both of them were at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, but they still didn’t meet each other.  A mathematician named Herman Weyl said ‘It would be nice if they got together.  It’s a pity that they don’t.’  So he arranged a party to which Einstein and Bohr and their respective students were invited.  Einstein and his associates stayed one end of the room, and Bohr and his associates stayed at the other end.  They couldn’t get together because they had nothing to talk about.  They couldn’t share any meaning, because each one felt his meaning was true.  How can you share if you are sure you have truth and the other fellow is sure he has truth, and the truths don’t agree?  How can you share?

"Therefore, you have to watch out for the notion of truth.  Dialogue may not be concerned directly with truth – it may arrive at truth, but it is concerned with meaning.  If the meaning is incoherent you will never arrive at truth.  You may think ‘My meaning is coherent and somebody else’s isn’t’ but then we’ll never have meaning shared.  You will have the ‘truth’ for yourself or for your own group, whatever consolation that is.  But we will continue to have conflict.

"If it is necessary to share meaning and share truth, then we have to do something different.  Bohr and Einstein probably should have had a dialogue.  I’m not saying that they could have had one, but in a dialogue they might have listened properly to each other’s opinion.  And perhaps they both would have suspended their opinions and moved out beyond relativity and beyond quantum theory into something new.  They might have done that in principle but I don’t think the notion of dialogue had occurred to scientists then."

                                    David Bohm (2004), On Dialogue, London: Routledge, pp. 36-7

A group in Lancaster ‘with a special interest in listening to each other, regardless of the topic’ has been meeting for twenty years, once-a-month from 10.00 until 18.00, attempting to live the question ‘Is Dialogue Possible?’  Does Therip have such an event in mind?                                                                                         

Susan Tilley 

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