ask, heed, respond, agree

To live is to converse.  Sounds glib, until you ask yourself how many people in your life you have a vital, clear, continuing verbal relationship with.  Some people do, but a lot do not; I include myself in the latter.  I have short intense wranglings, but rarely life long explications.

There is a history of dialogic relationships – friends who chat – in literature: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Iago and Othello, Holmes and Watson, Vladimir and Estragon, Lodovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern among the best known.  A contemporary conversation worth checking out is that between Lars Iyer and W. – a philosophic and funny wrangle between two UK philosophy professors – in Iyer’s books Spurious and Dogma.

Here is a good description – by the philosopher Bakhtin – of how dialogue is the essential act of communion that gives us life, the medium by which we are inducted into it, our ticket to what he calls the world symposium:

“Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction”

“The single adequate form for verbally expressing authentic human life is the open-ended dialogue. Life by its very nature is dialogic. To live means to participate in dialogue: to ask questions, to heed, to respond, to agree, and so forth. In this dialogue a person participates wholly and throughout his life: with his eyes, lips, hands, soul, spirit, with his whole body and deeds. He invests his entire self in discourse, and this discourse enters into the dialogic fabric of human life, into the world symposium.”

Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevski’s Poetics

Dialogic Tectonic, Scott Francisco


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Reblogged this on Reason & Existenz and commented:
Always get a lot out of reading Coromandal’s posts.

Comment by karljaspers23

Thanks R&E, the feeling is mutual.

Comment by Peter Rudd

Like this. Interesting – and I hope right – because it’s how I feel too.

Comment by blackwatertown

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