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November 3, 2006

a discourse of "conversation"

Tom Atlee reviews Conversations That Shape the Future: A Review of THE WORLD CAFE, describing this book as "an exploration of the power of conversations that matter -- ALL conversations that matter. It is also an exploration of the conditions under which questions that matter can be deeply and productively explored."

I've always been intrigued by the collective intelligence movement, even as it's unimodality rubs me wrong. The language is often inspiring:

"The World Café is a midwifery gift to a future struggling to be born."

the advice and suggestions are practical:

"...the creation of powerful questions -- "What could a good school also be?"
"What would this workplace be like if it were the kind of place I looked forward to getting up and coming to every morning?"
"How can our laboratory be not the best in the world, but the best for the world?"

and phraseology that invokes synchrony with other events in my life:

"There are surprising insights into (for example)
the role of flowers and art,
the relationship between talk and action,
"the magic in the middle",
common sense,
the power of setting, itself, to govern the quality of conversation..."

The mode, however, is so earnest (whither irony?) and so pious that my pleasure cringes. It leans toward the tragic as a frame of acceptance (read this against the dialectic).

Posted by Steph at November 3, 2006 9:37 PM


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