THE POWER OF DIALOGUE

Everything begins with dialogue. Dialogue is the initial step in the creation of value. Dialogue is the starting point and unifying force in all human relationships. The age when silence is consideredan indication of wisdom is over. This is an age of the people, an ageof dialogue, a time when people must share their opinions and thoroughly discuss things. To withdraw into an isolated world of quiet contemplation leads to defeat in life. Dialogue is an adventure, an adventure available to anyone. Andsometimes it’s an adventure whose outcome can change history. Dialogue is not some simplistic assertion of one’s own position, nor is it necessarily about persuading others to one’s point of view. Dialogue is about demonstrating respect for another’s life, and being determined to learn when confronted with differences in personality and perspective. The mark of wisdom lies, more than anything else, in the ability to listen. To have faith in the power of dialogue is to believe in the promise of humanity. We are not born human in any but a biological sense; it is only by immersion in the “ocean of language and dialogue” fed by the springs of cultural tradition that we can learn to know ourselves and others and thus learn the ways of being human.

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